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Lawmaker Presses Trump Official On Banning Canadians From US For Marijuana

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In the wake of reports that the U.S. federal government plans to apply lifetime visitation bans on Canadians who use marijuana as well as those who work for or even just invest in cannabis businesses, a member of Congress is pressing the Trump administration for details on how it plans to enforce that policy.

“We are concerned DHS is unnecessarily and disproportionally penalizing noncitizens who are engaged in lawful business activities,” reads a draft letter obtained by Marijuana Moment that Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) will send to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Monday.

The congressman’s letter comes just days after a senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Politico that “facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in U.S. states where it is deemed legal or Canada may affect an individual’s admissibility to the U.S.”

But it’s unclear how border agents will decide who to question about their past marijuana use or involvement in the cannabis industry.

“We strongly urge DHS to clarify admission policies and procedures at U.S. ports of entry to help ensure transparency of such processes,” Correa’s letter reads. “The role that CBP plays in processing thousands of foreign nationals who come to the United States daily to conduct business is critical not only to the success of our economy, but also the safety and security of the American people.”

Officials in Canada, where marijuana legalization is set to take effect on October 17, have been reluctant to press U.S. officials about the country’s border policy.

Correa is asking Kirstjen to answer a number of questions by October 1, including to explain how her department will “evaluate and determine that an authorized foreign national is associated with the cannabis industry” and how it will “determine that secondary questioning of an authorized foreign national associated with the cannabis industry is appropriate.”

He also wants to know what recourse affected individuals will have as well as how officials will determine “what categories of businesses or persons within the cannabis industry should undergo additional questioning.”

Previous Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who is now the White House chief of staff, recommended in an interview last year that Canadians visiting the U.S. “check those pockets one more time” to make sure they aren’t carrying marijuana when crossing the border.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has himself admitted consuming cannabis, something that could technically get him banned from visiting the U.S.

Here’s When Canada’s Legal Marijuana Sales Will Begin

Marijuana Moment supporters on Patreon can see the full text of Correa’s draft letter below:

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Photo courtesy of Cannabis Culture.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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