In May 2019 the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) updated their cannabis policy to allow some forms of cannabidiol (CBD) oil on flights. TSA.gov new regulations allow FDA-approved medical marijuana and products that contain hemp-derived CBD oil "as long as it is produced within the regulations defined by the law." The new TSA rules on CBD oil do not apply to Canada-produced CBD oils and other cannabis derivatives, and it does not permit Canadians flying to the United States to carry CBD oil, which is federally prohibited.
Canada immigration and visa waiver lawyer Evelyn Ackah says the federal government needs to do more to educate Canadians about travelling to the U.S. with cannabis-related products:
Under present U.S. law you cannot get a marijuana medical use waiver to travel to the United States. Cannabis products for medical use cannot be carried over the border from Canada to the United States. It is a criminal offense. You can't bring marijuana to the U.S., including any derivatives such as hemp products or CBD oils or edibles such as gummies, lollipops or brownies. The United States views them the same as bringing leafy marijuana across the border, which is a federal crime. If you are denied entry to the U.S. because you are carrying cannabis products, we can apply for a waiver. If we succeed that waiver must be renewed every year, two years or five years."
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs that contain CBD oil or other hemp-derived products must be produced under U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations. The FDA does not approve drugs manufactured in Canada.
TSA is governed by United States federal law. The TSA website says that if there were questions of whether a CBD oil or cannabis product was illegal under federal law, the issue will be referred to state or federal law authorities.
Are You a Canadian Concerned About Travel to the US?
Avoid costly mistakes, lengthy delays and even a lifetime travel ban from entering the United States due to a criminal conviction for cannabis use in your past. Even if you have received a Canada cannabis pardon, a past charge or conviction for marijuana possession in Canada can deny you the right to enter the U.S., impose substantial fines - or a lifetime ban. Marijuana use is legal in Canada, but even though medical and recreational use are legal in some states, cannabis use and derivative products are illegal under United States federal law.
If you have received a Canadian cannabis pardon, but your criminal marijuana conviction was already shared with the United States, that information remains in the U.S. database and is used by border guards to determine if you can enter or denied entry due to criminal inadmissibility.
Rather than risk being denied entry due to criminal inadmissibility, an immigration lawyer can review your case and if you can apply for a U.S. visa waiver of ineligibility for 1, 2 or 5 years depending on the justification for requiring the waiver, the seriousness of the crimes that resulted in the inadmissibility and the amount of time that has passed since the conviction(s) occurred, and other factors. If a waiver is granted, you can visit the United States multiple times during the time period of the waiver, but if you intend to stay in the U.S. for more than 3 months at one time, additional forms may need to be completed and submitted with the application.
- Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility to Enter Canada or the United States
- Cannabis Pardon Does Not Guarantee You Can Enter the U.S.
- Marijuana Medical Use: Can I Get a Visa Waiver to Enter the US?