What US and Canadian Employers Need to Know About Canada's New Marijuana Laws

12 September 2018

What US and Canadian Employers Need to Know About Canadas New Marijuana Laws Evelyn Ackah Ackah Business Immigration Law

When Canada legalizes cannabis in October 2018, US and Canadian companies with cross-border employees who travel between the United States and Canada or who have locations in both countries need to be aware of the new laws, and how they could potentially impact both Canadian employees who travel to the US on business or vacation, and US employees who travel to Canada for work or holidays.

What HR Departments Should Do Now to Prevent American and Canadian Employees Being Banned for Life from Entering the United States

Neighbors America and Canada have long enjoyed a friendly personal and business relationship. Many US and Canadian businesses do cross-border business and have employees who regularly or occasionally travel between the US and Canada for work reasons. With Canada's new laws that legalize the recreational use of marijuana, employees who legally smoke pot while in Canada may face difficulty crossing the border into the United States - even if they are American citizens. 

Immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah explains,

Human Resource departments in Canada and the US should update their HR policies and notify all employees who currently or in the future may travel between Canada and the US for work, business, education - or even vacations - about how the new marijuana laws could impact them - and what they should and shouldn't do when crossing the Canadian border into the United States. 

  • Americans who admit to US border guards that they legally used marijuana while in Canada could face difficulties re-entering the US 
  • Canadians who legally purchase marijuana in Canada may be barred from entering the United States 
  • Canadians who legally invest in or work in the cannabis industry - even if they do not use marijuana themselves - are subject to the same US federal laws that ban the use, purchase or distribution of cannabis - for any reason. 
  • Electronic records which show the purchase of legal marijuana in Canada may be available to US border patrol agents - including credit card records, cell phone records and other electronic data. 

Evelyn Ackah advises,

Never lie about marijuana use at the border crossing, but instead refuse to answer the question about marijuana use. In that case, Canadians will be denied admission to the United States on that occasion, but will not be banned for life. Americans returning to the US from Canada can be questioned about their legal use or purchase of marijuana in Canada, and are subject to US penalties and laws.  

Ackah Business Immigration Law offers employment law and human resources advisory services for companies that do cross-border business. Ackah Law's legal team works with HR departments to protect their business interests and employees. We recommend you review your HR policies and practices and consult a Canadian immigration expert if your business:

  • sends employees to meetings, events or conferences for educational, sales or networking reasons to the US or Canada from the other country 
  • has locations and employees in both the US and Canada
  • is considering expanding from the US to Canada, or vice versa
  • recruits and hires employees from Canada to work in the United States
  • has American employees who visit Canada on holiday, for study or other personal reasons 

Learn more about Canada's marijuana legalization and cross-border travel:  

How Canada’s New Marijuana Laws May Impact Your US Travel

Marijuana Legalization in Canada Causes Issues for Investors at the US Border

Canadians Who Legally Buy Marijuana in Canada May be Denied Entry to the US 

Book a Consultation Today Evelyn Ackah Immigration Lawyer

Do you have questions about US / Canada border immigration? 
We Can Help 

Evelyn Ackah is a US and Canada immigration law expert and founder and managing lawyer at Ackah Business Immigration Law. Business immigration law focuses on helping people move into new opportunities — both personally and professionally. Ackah Immigration Law helps you to navigate the complex maze of rules and regulations involved with Canadian, US and international immigration law with confidence. Headquartered in Calgary and with offices in Vancouver and Toronto, Ackah Business Immigration Law provides legal immigration advice for those looking to move for work, education or personal reasons.

We provide expertise in all areas of immigration law ranging from corporate immigration to personal and family immigration matters. We provide comprehensive immigration services to clients around the world representing corporations, institutions, not for profit organizations and individual clients. As your immigration lawyers and paralegals, we provide you with timely and strategic advice relating to the constantly changing immigration laws and regulations. 

Contact Ackah Business Immigration Law

Calgary: (403) 452‑9515     Vancouver: (604) 985‑9512     Toronto: (416) 643‑7177

North America: 1 (800) 932-1190


Contact us:


   Calgary: (403) 452‑9515
   Vancouver: (604) 985‑9512
   Toronto: (416) 643‑7177

   North America: 1 (800) 932‑1190

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