Best ways to protect your recreational use of Marijuana!

Recreational use of marijuana becomes legal on October 17, 2018 in Canada. While recreational and/or medicinal use is legal in some of the states within USA, it is still a federal offence in the USA.  What does this mean for you and how can you protect yourself when travelling?

If you travel to the USA or any other country (most of the world) where marijuana is illegal, you may be asked by the customs and immigration officers about your usage of marijuana. We know that you would never lie to the border officials but the hidden messages of your body language, plus the words you use and a search of your phone may prevent you from entering the country.  Furthermore, they can ban your entry into the country outright for many years (if not forever) or even arrest you depending on many things.

Here are some practical tips for marijuana users travelling to the US or anywhere else:

Don’t take pot into the USA or any other country that prohibits the use of drugs! While you are allowed to use marijuana in Canada within the set limits and locations, it remains illegal in other countries, if not, most of the world. Do not take it to USA! This includes edibles and for medicinal uses. Having a pre-clearance such as Nexus will not save  people either. A US citizen was blocked entry because a dog smelled pot on him. 

Do not take weed onto international flights or cruise ships. When aboard airplanes and cruise ships, international laws in addition to laws of the origin and destination countries may be applied in various ways. Do not take marijuana in any form (including edibles) with you on international trips.  You will be allowed to take permissible amounts in your checked-in luggage for domestic flights only!

Do you work in the pot industry? Are you an investor in a cannabis company? Are you a government employee working in the weed industry? Anyone involved in the pot industry can be denied entry into the USA. Even if you are travelling to a state like California or Colorado where it is legal, you may still be stopped from entry. This policy is currently under review by the US Customs Department and may change. This policy most likely will not apply to indirect investors who own stock of cannabis companies via mutual funds, pension funds etc.

Pot Tourism – if you’re a US citizen coming to Canada to enjoy some of the legal marijuana, you will probably be ok returning home even if you admit to using marijuana. But if your vehicle smells of weed, that’s a whole different story where you, your vehicle and your belongings will be searched to ensure that you’re not bringing any of it back home.

Pot pardon doesn’t guarantee entrance into the USA. The Canadian federal government announced plans to pardon Canadians who were convicted of simple possession (under 30 grams) charges. Unfortunately, US border officials don’t recognize foreign amnesty. This may or not change but until it does, a pardon may not guarantee you entrance into another country.

Never lie – they can find out if you use cannabis many ways. Lying is interpreted as misrepresentation and can lead to other issues such as being banned forever.

Protect your phone. Even if you are never asked questions regarding your usage of weed, border officials can always and many times do ask to search your phone. In many of the provinces, it will only be possible to purchase cannabis online which will leave a trail of your history on your phone. If the customs officers find emails or text messages (SMS) confirming purchases of cannabis or the use of it, they will deny you entry, Imagine if they see pictures of your latest party showing you enjoying some recreational pot. All of this your normal life items may be considered incriminatory and could get you denied entry. To avoid this scenario, it is recommended for you to use Conseel. Ensure that you have set it up properly to account for deletion of emails, SMS, photos, videos and receipts (pdf files, etc) should the situation arise.

Have you experienced these or other issues? Were you allowed to enter the USA? Share your experiences with others so we can all learn.