Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Canada warns citizens to use cash to purchase legal weed so not to be denied entry to the U.S.

Dec 20, 2018 02:29PM ● By Editor
A U.S. Border Patrol agent uses his K-9 to look for drugs and hidden people at a highway checkpoint, in West Enfield, Maine, on August 1.  Photo:  Scott Eisen/Getty Images

By Jason Lemon of Newsweek - December 20, 2018

Canadian citizens should avoid giving out too much personal information to legal cannabis retailers and use cash for their purchases, according to new guidelines released by Ottawa’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner this week.

Besides normal privacy concerns related to possible data breaches, the new guidelines specifically mention the possibility of an individual’s personal information regarding marijuana purchases being used by foreign governments. Although the online advice doesn’t explicitly mention a particular country, the warning is most relevant to Canadians who plan to travel to the United States in the future.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents legally have the right to deny and ban entry to anyone who has ever used cannabis in the past. When Canada became the second country in the world to legalize recreational weed earlier this year, legal experts were quick to warn Canadians against admitting to using pot when traveling south to the neighboring nation. Since Canada’s nationwide legalization on October 17, some Canadians have already been blocked from traveling into the U.S. by CBP.

“The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has advised Canadians to be especially cautious with their personal information when it comes to purchasing marijuana. Among the advice is a suggestion to make purchases with cash to avoid proof of payment at a dispensary,” the new guidelines said.

“Some countries may deny entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis, even lawfully,” the commissioner warned. When it comes to the U.S., border agents can technically ban individuals from entering if they admit to having tried marijuana at any point in their lives.

Although 11 U.S. states and the nation’s capital Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana and more than 30 states have legalized the plant for medicinal use, it remains classified as an illegal Schedule 1 drug under federal law. U.S. borders are controlled by federal agents, meaning that is still completely forbidden for weed to be transported between a border state that has legalized and Canada.

To read more of this story and see related reporting, follow this link to the Newsweek website.

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here