June 28, 2022

Volume XII, Number 179

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June 27, 2022

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Can I Bring Cannabis from Canada Home?

Cannabis has been legalized in Canada as of October 17, 2018. What does this mean for employers with employees traveling to and from Canada? Can travelers from Canada to the United States with legally purchased cannabis simply drive to a state where recreational or medical use of cannabis is legal? The bottom line: Employers should remind employees that they cannot cross into the United States with Canadian cannabis under any circumstances.

The framework created in Canada did not change laws regarding borders. A traveler who purchases legal cannabis in Canada may not enter the United States with it, regardless of whether the person is traveling to a state that has legalized marijuana. Cannabis remains illegal under federal law and crossing any U.S. – Canada border will result in legal prosecution by the federal government. This applies to any amount and any form of cannabis, including medical marijuana.

The same is true if one were returning to Canada with legally purchased cannabis from Canada. This act is illegal. There is no situation where a receipt can be shown to “prove” the origin. The origin does not matter. The act of taking cannabis across the border is illegal.

Further, for the same reasons, cannabis cannot be brought on international flights even if the flight originated from Canada. It is expected that declaration forms on flights originating from Canada traveling to the U.S. may include questions on cannabis. Given how relatively new the legalization and regulation of cannabis is in Canada, travelers should expect to see and/or hear increased questions about cannabis possession and use, generally, at the borders.

Forget bringing cannabis purchased in Canada into the U.S. Even a single past use of cannabis may lead travelers to unforeseen legal troubles. The Canadian government warns that previous use of cannabis could result in the traveler being denied entry to the destination country, including the U.S. This could be a lifetime ban that may take years to sort for these noncitizens.

Certain other travelers may be inadmissible to the U.S. due to their ties to cannabis. Canadian citizens working in the marijuana industry, for example, may be denied entry to the U.S. if they are traveling to the U.S. for reasons related to that industry. In addition, while Canada intends to pardon citizens with simple marijuana possession convictions, the U.S. does not recognize foreign pardons, and so these individuals also could be deemed inadmissible to enter the U.S.

©2022 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 330
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About this Author

David Garland, Epstein Becker, employment lawyer
Shareholder

DAVID W. GARLAND is a Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the New York and Newark offices of Epstein Becker Green. He is also Chair of the firm’s National Employment, Labor & Workforce Management Steering Committee and a member of the firm’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Garland is frequently retained in matters involving high-profile, high-stakes, and highly sensitive cases. These matters include:

  • Sex harassment
  • Employment discrimination
  • Whistleblowing
  • Retaliation
  • Equal...
212-351-4708
Nathaniel M. Glasser, Epstein Becker, Labor, Employment Attorney, Publishing
Member

NATHANIEL M. GLASSER is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the Washington, DC, office of Epstein Becker Green. His practice focuses on the representation of leading companies and firms, including publishing and media companies, financial services institutions, and law firms, in all areas of labor and employment relations.

Mr. Glasser’s experience includes:

  • Defending clients in employment litigation, from single-plaintiff to class action disputes,...

202-861-1863
Paulina Grabczak, Epstein Becker Law Firm, Healthcare Attorney
Associate

Paulina Grabczak is an Associate in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the Newark office of Epstein Becker Green.

Ms. Grabczak:

  • Advises on federal and state health care fraud and abuse laws, including the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute

  • Assists with all aspects of transactional regulatory health care due diligence

  • ...
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