She was only going from a CBD-legal country to a CBD-legal state to hang out at her friend’s cabin, but a Canadian woman unknowingly put her lifetime ability to enter the United States in question over a small bottle of CBD oil she carries around for scoliosis pain.
“I’m still really not sure what’s going to happen,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous until her application for re-entry is resolved. “It’s an issue I don’t want to follow me around my whole life.”
But it very well might. Last weekend she was passing through border inspection in Blaine, Washington, when she was pulled over and asked by an officer if she was carrying any “leafy greens.”
“I said no because, to me, ‘leafy greens’ is like marijuana, the actual bud, things that you smoke, recreational drugs,” she told a reporter from CBC News. “I use CBD daily and it’s not psychoactive, it can’t get me high at the dosage that I’ve been told to take it at.”
Now she must fill out a $600 application for re-entry — which she may have to re-submit every few years in perpetuity — that includes a criminal background check, letters of reference, a letter expressing remorse over possession of her own medicine, proof of employment, and proof of her residence and work history. Some people are also made to submit to a drug test as part of the application process.
If the application isn’t approved, she could be banned from from the United States for life, and she was already fined $500 for not declaring the substance. No matter the rules on either side of the border, the US feds clearly say what goes when it comes to what crosses over.
To make matters worse, confusion has reigned in many parts of the United States over whether CBD is legal. Though Trump’s most recent US Farm Bill legalized hemp, from which many CBD products are derived, it also placed a limit on how much THC content legal CBD products are allowed to contain; no more than 0.3 percent of a product’s dry weight, which is typically thought of as the threshold for psychoactivity.
Concern over how legal Canadian cannabis usage will affect individuals’ ability to enter the United States has been ongoing throughout the country’s federal legalization process. A recent announcement by the Canadian government that expedited pardons will be available to over 500,000 Canadians with past cannabis-related offenses on their criminal record was met with a certain degree of skepticism. Critics said that without provisions for expungement — which erases a crime from a record rather than just “forgiving” it — Canadians could still be banned from entering the US based on their past.