The United States Customs and Border Patrol has reversed its decision to ban a Canadian woman entry to their country for her lifetime after United States Can You Travel with CBD Oil? Laws are Murky, But Here’s How to Protect Yourself Is it legal to fly with CBD products within the United States? If it’s a certain type—yes. If it breaks the Travellers – Cannabis (marijuana) legalization
Lifetime Ban For Crossing the U.S. Border with CBD Oil Reversed
The United States Customs and Border Patrol has reversed its decision to ban a Canadian woman entry to their country for her lifetime after United States border protection agents discovered cannabidiol (CBD) oil in her backpack.
According to reports, the woman, a 21-year-old Ontario University student who wants to remain anonymous, was pulled aside for a secondary check when she attempted to cross the border into the U.S. at Blaine, Washington in August, 2019. She was travelling to a friend’s cabin. The woman was asked if she had any “leafy greens”, to which she responded “no”.
I said no because, to me ‘leafy greens’ is like marijuana, the actual bud, things that you smoke, recreational drugs. 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.
The woman was searched by border patrol and a bottle of CBD oil was found in her backpack. She admitted that she knew that joints were prohibited at the border and there were many signs warning travellers not to enter the U.S. with such substances. However, she believed that it was permissible to travel with CBD oil as she did not realize the same rules applied to it and as the oil is legal in both Washington state and British Columbia.
CBD oil is a non-psychoactive product of the cannabis plant, which is used by many to help regulate bodily functions, including pain. It has been reported that the woman uses CBD oil to treat the painful side effects of scoliosis (a condition wherein the spine twists and curves to the side).
The woman received a $500 US fine for not disclosing that she was carrying CBD oil, she was fingerprinted and she was denied access to the U.S.
In order to gain admission into the U.S., the woman must apply for a special waiver through a new online portal called e-SAFE, which will cost $600. The U.S. government also requires a criminal record check from the RCMP, letters of reference, a letter of remorse for past wrongs, proof of employment and documentation detailing an individual’s residence and work history.
Late last week, the woman learned that the United States had reversed their order banning her from entering the U.S. for her lifetime and she would not need to apply for a waiver. No explanation was given to explain this surprising decision.
In an email to CTV News Vancouver, U.S. CBP spokesperson Jason Givens (“Givens”) advised that Customs and Border Patrol management reviews all cases in which “travellers are deemed inadmissible”. According to Givens:
In this particular case, management determined that it did not meet the terms of inadmissibility. In some instances, decisions about admissibility may be changed upon further review and presentation of additional information, verification of further evidence, etc. It is important to note, however, that all cases are unique and travellers are strongly encouraged to not attempt to cross the border with marijuana and products derived from marijuana.
CANADIAN BRETT HEUCHERT ALSO GIVEN A LIFETIME BAN
In early August, 2019, Brett Heuchert, a Canadian citizen living in Japan landed at Seattle’s Sea Tac International Airport from Tokyo. He was randomly selected for additional screening. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents searched his bags and found two bottles of CBD oil. They suspected that the oil contained tetrahydrocannabinolin (also known as THC, the psychoactive constituent of cannabis) After testing, it was determined that one of the two bottles had tested positive for THC (the psychoactive agent found in marijuana). Heuchert believed that he could bring the CBD oil across the border because marijuana was legal in the state of Washington.
Heuchert was given the choice of either being deported back to Japan or to Canada. The CBD oil was confiscated and he was issued a $500 US fine and a lifetime entry ban to the U.S.
Heuchert was deported to Canada and the border agents returned the bottle of CBD oil that tested negative for THC. When he arrived at Vancouver International Airport, Canadian Border Services Agency agents detained him and confiscated his bottle of CBD oil. However, he was not arrested or charged.
CONFUSION SURROUNDING CROSSING THE BORDER WITH MARIJUANA
According to CBC News, thousands of Canadians have been denied entry to the U.S. for admitting that they have smoked marijuana once in their lives.
Although some U.S. states have legalized marijuana, cannabis possession remains a federal criminal offence and a controlled substance under U.S. federal law. The U.S. border is governed by federal law. Thus, travellers are prohibited from bringing cannabis or any related products across the border.
According to Washington state immigration lawyer Len Saunders, who represents both individuals facing a lifetime ban from the U.S.:
There seems to be a lot of confusion with Canadians entering the U.S. with regards to CBD and THC and all the derivatives from marijuana. From my experience, if anything is coming from the marijuana plant, even it it’s an oil or a gummy candy, it seems to be grounds not only for inadmissibility and fines…but also a lifetime ban. … Even though she made an honest mistake, if the officers deem that she has a controlled substance with her, and she admitted to it, then she’s inadmissible for the rest of her life. Even if she gets a waiver approved, she’ll still have to go through a renewal every year, two years or five years.
It is recommended that all travellers leave their cannabis products, including those that contain THC or CBD, at home. The Canada Border Services Agency has a new cannabis slogan, which reads “Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out.”
If you or a loved one have been charged with a drug related charge or have any questions concerning your legal rights, please contact the experienced criminal defence lawyers at Barrison Law online or at 905-404-1947. We maintain a 24-hour call service to protect your rights and to ensure that you have access to justice at all times.
Proudly servicing all of Durham Region including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, and Pickering as well as the surrounding communities including Cobourg, Peterborough, and Lindsay.
Can You Travel with CBD Oil? Laws are Murky, But Here’s How to Protect Yourself
Is it legal to fly with CBD products within the United States? If it’s a certain type—yes. If it breaks the rules—no. Here’s how to make sure your CBD can be transported legally.
We probably don’t have to tell you, but cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become a firm favorite among alternative treatments in anxiety, epilepsy, skin care, nausea, and more. What’s not so firm is the legality of traveling with it.
We’ll be honest: The legality of CBD is still muddy. The government has done a terrible job making standards clear, leaving the door wide open for local law enforcement to put everyday people through a legal wringer with no outcome. If you run across a security officer who’s in a bad mood, there aren’t many cut-and-dry regulations that will spare you grief.
A central problem is confusion about what CBD is and what it does. Think of cannabis as having two major components. CBD is the compound that is responsible for the major health effects of cannabis—it’s the part that’s increasingly legal. The other part, delta (9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the chemical that gives you a high and makes law enforcement freak out. Smoking a joint delivers both compounds, but products can be manufactured to exclude THC, eliminating the high. Those are generally what are referred to as CBD products, although even those may still contain trace amounts of THC, sometimes by accident.
Two important questions will determine whether your CBD product is legally protected: Was this derived from hemp or from marijuana? and What is its concentration of THC?
Know its origin
CBD can be derived from two major sources: hemp (totally legal) or marijuana (legality differs by state).
Traveling with hemp-based CBD can be fine. That’s because the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (“Farm Bill”) removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, and in late 2019, the USDA affirmed that you have the right to transport hemp-based CBD across state lines.
Before you travel with marijuana-derived CBD, check the legality of medical marijuana at the state you’re visiting. A majority of American states have legalized it, so that gives you protection at the state level, so you shouldn’t encounter issues as long as you don’t pass through other states that ban it.
Will the TSA care?
There’s one more factor you must consider when traveling with CBD oil: the trace amounts of THC it contains.
The TSA’s official site says CBD oils “remain illegal under federal law except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA.”
So according to the TSA, you may travel with CBD if its THC content is under that 0.3% threshold. (And, of course, if the amount you’re carrying conforms to the usual 3-ounce limit that applies to all liquids and lotions.)
The TSA says it’s not interested in policing illegal drugs. It’s concerned about passenger safety, so it’s not going to search your bags for drugs. But if its agents do happen to come across any illegal substance in the course of normal screening, they still might refer you to the police.
It may be legal federally, but you might have to deal with zealous local officers who are keen to enforce their state’s tighter rules. In 2019, a 69-year-old woman was arrested by a sheriff deputy at the gates of a Disney World park as she tried to enter with her family. The CBD oil that she used to soothe her arthritis tested positive for THC content despite the fact its label claimed it had none. While CBD is legal federally and she had a doctor’s note, the state of Florida had not caught up and the deputy wouldn’t let it go, so she spent 12 pointless hours in jail before she was released.
The furor was for nothing. Charges against her were dropped, and two months later, CBD was legalized in Florida. It’s unlikely her arrest would happen today, but the incident highlights how labeling standards and police education will be key until the law becomes clear and definite.
In the United States, law enforcement officers are often just as confused by the law, so if you’re polite and don’t look like a high-volume drug trafficker, they are more likely to look the other way—but still, that’s no guarantee.
For maximum confidence, make sure the product was obtained from industrial hemp and contains less than 0.3% of THC; that generally covers you on the more stringent federal level, and no state will bust you for a hemp-based product. Now that the USDA is monitoring THC content, labeling accuracy for trace amounts of THC should improve, too, so you’ll be much less likely to get caught out.
It’s all so confusing and needlessly stressful that we could use a good anti-anxiety treatment. Anyone know of something that would work?
Cannabis at the border
The Cannabis Act, legalizing and regulating cannabis (marijuana), creates a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada.
Transporting cannabis across the border in any form – including any oils containing THC or cannabidiol (CBD) – without a permit or exemption authorized by Health Canada remains a serious criminal offence subject to arrest and prosecution, despite the legalization of cannabis in Canada. The prohibition applies regardless of:
- The amount of cannabis you have with you,
- Whether you hold a medical document authorizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes,
- Whether you are travelling from an area with legalized or decriminalized cannabis.
Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out.
If you are entering Canada from another country, remember: if you have cannabis with you in any form, you must declare it to the Canada Border Services Agency. Not declaring cannabis in your possession at the Canadian border could also lead to arrest and prosecution.
If you are leaving Canada, remember: you may not take cannabis out of the country either. You may be subject to criminal charges if you attempt to travel to other countries with any amount of cannabis in your possession.
Only Health Canada retains the authority to issue permits or grant exemptions to import or export cannabis. They do so under very limited circumstances and for limited purposes: medical, scientific or industrial hemp. For importers with the Health Canada granted authority, please refer to Customs Notice 18-19 on calculating cannabis duty.
Laws for cannabis at the Canadian border
An explanation about the laws for cannabis at the Canadian border.