Cannabis at the Border
The fact that cannabis is soon to be fully legal in the nations bordering the U.S. may become a problem for foreign nationals entering the country as well as for U.S. businesses and commerce. All stakeholders in the cannabis business, as well as users, are going to have to become fully aware and think strategically about their options.
For instance, starting with Canada. The U.S. Border Patrol is legally allowed to interrogate Canadian citizens entering through the border about their cannabis use, even if it legal in Canada, because it is still illegal in the U.S. (at the federal level). In the U.S., as we all know, cannabis remains banned federally as a Schedule-I substance. People are concerned by increasing anecdotal evidence that Canadians who admit to authorities having smoked marijuana in the past have been barred from entering in the U.S. According to trade publication Cannabis Business Times, in some cases people can be banned from entering the U.S. forever.
We are not talking here of small numbers of people, you all. It is expected that as much as 40 percent of the Canadian adult population may purchase and use legal marijuana. If the U.S. Border Patrol continues the practice of questioning and proscribing, which according to some is a recurring event, this could affect thousands. Whereas the U.S. is building a wall to impede the movement of people entering from Mexico, some in Canada are concerned that the practices of border patrol regarding cannabis use may prove a virtual wall, invisible yet with very real effects.
Meanwhile, Mexico is moving towards legalizing medical marijuana, allowing the distribution of cannabis as a supplement, based on studies that suggest it strengthens the immune system. According to reports, this refers to CBD, a cannabis compound. A bill has been signed into law that legalized the cultivation, production, processing and use of cannabis products low in THC in Mexico at the national level, a more effective path than that which has occurred in the United States. This new law will allow producers to put CBD in health products as long as it is in an amount of less than 1%. It can also be added to lotions, edibles, vitamins, etc. For products with a THC concentration higher than 1%, these must be registered with the government and sold as a prescription in order to be legal.
In this sense, Mexico is one of the first nations worldwide to take this step!
It is left to be seen how these developments in the Southern border of the United States will affect the already increased Border Patrol activity. In other words, our neighbors to the north and south will both have legalized marijuana distribution and use as of this year, with large numbers of its citizens using it in one form or another, and it cannot be productive or anything but detrimental commercially and culturally to bar so many foreign nationals from entering the country and spending time and money here.
What will the Federal Government do? That remains to be seen.
About the Author:
Trudy Mercadal, Ph.D
New Orleans born with a Latina background, I am a writer, social historian & cultural studies researcher with a doctorate in Comparative Studies. My focus on community and popular culture. Main interests are the ways in which people express identity through arts—such as music, graffiti, and magazines—and their consuming practices, that is, the what (and how) they buy, ingest, eat, and wear. In my personal life, I am a dedicated urban mini-farmer and, also, a certified cheesemaker who makes a truly kick-ass grilled cheese sandwich.