Last October, I wrote Can Canadians Involved in the Legalized Marijuana Industry Enter the United States?
Now, nine months after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill that has affirmed Hemp and its derivatives, including cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (“CBD”) and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”, provided that concentration of THC not be more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis) is not a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, U.S federal agencies are still struggling with updating their regulations and guidelines.
As a result of this delay, a Canadian woman who uses CBD for a medical condition was barred from entering the U.S. from Canada 2 weeks ago because she was carrying CBD with her. In June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued an update to its guidelines advising that the importation of viable hemp seeds (for planting) from Canada to the United States was permissible without DEA involvement, where DEA permission was previously required. However, that guideline does not extend so far as to discuss derivatives of hemp, such as CBD.
The month before the revised guideline was issued, a lawyer I know from my work with the International Cannabis Bar Association exchanged emails with a CBP public affairs official asking for CBP to provide a copy of its policy regarding hemp, cannabinoids and extracts of hemp, and hemp products. While CBP responded to his inquiry, it failed to respond directly with respect to CBP’s current policy stance, but did advise that CBP was “working closely with its Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) that have regulatory purview over Cannabis Sativa L. and its by-products (around and beyond the CSA) to assess the policy and regulatory changes and verify all importation requirements that will be necessary as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill.”
That statement was made in May. Given the facts from my prior blog post, rumors that continued throughout the year affecting individuals crossing on land and by air, and the last few weeks, it’s fair to assume that CBP’s policy was to seize CBD and arrested and/or ban individuals from entering the U.S. As of September 3, it is possible that CBP has revised its policy, since luckily for the young woman aforementioned, CBP reversed its decision after internal review. Perhaps this is the beginning of a policy change in light of the 2018 Farm Bill. The question is, are any Canadians willing to risk trying to find out for sure?