Recently I have been reading many articles and speaking with industry insiders about how The U.S. Department of Customs and Border Protection has been banning Canadians from entering the land of the not so free, United States of America. I first heard about people being banned from entering the U.S. a couple of years ago if they had any direct relationship with cannabis cultivation, it now seems this department is targeting anyone who is engaged or somehow profiting from the cannabis industry in the U.S.
Today I read an article posted on the CBC website about how Sam Zniamer, who is a Vancouver venture capitalist for more than 30 years, had been stopped, interrogated and denied access to entering the U.S. for life. He recently invested in legal American cannabis companies and as a result of their interrogation, he was deemed inadmissible to the land of the free.
"To my shock and horror, I was told that I was deemed to be inadmissible to the United States because I was assisting and abetting in the illicit trafficking of drugs," Znaimer said. "They never asked whether I had consumed marijuana, the only thing that they're interested in is that I've been an investor in U.S.-based cannabis companies."
This trend of regulatory overreach by U.S. federal agents and employees against anyone in the cannabis industry is very concerning and makes for a difficult business climate. Every non-American cannabis consumer, employee or person having ties to the cannabis industry should be concerned. Once red-flagged, you are banned from entering the U.S. and will have to pay large sums in legal fees to get a waiver just to enter the U.S. again. I wonder what the Canadian gov
Len Saunder who is an American immigration attorney said he's seen many cases over the past few months like Znaimer's, however in the prior 15 years that he's practiced law on the border, he'd never seen one.
"You're being barred because you're getting paid through drug money, even though it's marijuana," Saunders said. "It might as well be cocaine or heroin…These are not people who have criminal convictions, these are not people who are terrorists or a threat to the United States"
While there may be some great opportunities to invest in the legal U.S. cannabis industry, the US Federal Government has made it very difficult for anyone to do so legally and without repercussions. Just like Sam and many others have recently experienced, I have spoken to several others who face the same predicament of being banned from entering the U.S. for having a connection to the cannabis industry in America.
When it comes to investing in the Cannabis industry, I would recommend looking at the Canadian opportunities. As you can clearly see by these people's experiences, investing in the U.S. cannabis opportunities as a foreigner can get you banned for life and be costly to reverse. If you do participate in the cannabis industry and have ties to U.S. opportunities, it is probably wise to not mention it at any border crossing points going into the U.S. If you are asked any question about cannabis by a U.S. official, just choose not to answer and turn back to go home, hopefully the still won't red flag you on your next attempt entering the "Land of Not So Free".
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