Lifetime ban for woman caught with CBD oil at U.S. border?

Lifetime ban for woman caught with CBD oil at U.S. border?

A young Canadian woman faces a lifelong ban on entering the United States after being caught attempting to cross the border with CBD Oil.

The women in question was - until now - frequently travelling into the US to visit Detroit for shopping and concerts but now fears she may face a lifetime ban on crossing the border. She was fined $500 for failing to declare the oil, fingerprinted and subsequently denied entry to the U.S. She was also provided with paperwork to apply for a special waiver through an online portal called e-SAFE that must be completed should she wish to have a hope of regaining entry into the US in the future. The application costs $600 and involves compiling information such as references, a criminal record check, a letter of remorse for past wrongs and proof of employment and documentation outlining a person's residence and work history.

When travelling to America, caution is advised when it comes bringing any cannabis-based products along with you, as explained by Len Saunders an immigration lawyer based in the US:

"From my experience, if anything is coming from the marijuana plant, even if 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's important to note that a 'cannabis-based product' is any product containing any component that has been extracted from a cannabis plant - hemp or otherwise. This could include non-psychotropic retail products including balms, oils, edibles or otherwise.

CBD products are more restricted in Canada than they currently are here in the UK where CBD can be sold as a food supplement providing no medical claims are made, GMP standards are adhered to and that the product does not contain more than trace amounts of THC (1mg/container is the exemption limited cited under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971).

Donald Trump signed a farm bill into law in 2018 that removed industrial hemp and its derivatives from the Controlled Substances Act, providing that THC levels do not exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis. However, US Customs and Border Protection has still not decided how the new farm bill will be applied to travellers possessing hemp-derived CBD. 

Until such time as more clarity is available, entry happens at the sole discretion fo the US customs officers on duty, who are able to interrogate you and demand access to your social media accounts. Scary times for those travelling into the US whole rely on cannabis-based products to maintain health and wellbeing. 

Is CBD legal in the US?

Cannabis for medical or recreational purposes is now legal in the majority of states across the USA. However, cannabis (usually referred to as marijuana in the states) is still considered a controlled substance under federal law. This means travellers found in possession of cannabis whilst trying to cross any border into the US can fact arrest, fines, penalties and be denied entry. In this case, federal law supersedes state laws so you could be penalised even for entering a state where cannabis is legal. 

A lifetime ban seems incredibly harsh for what was clearly an innocent mistake of possessing a harmless wellness oil that was being used to treat painful side effects arising from scoliosis. 

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