Lifetime ban reversed for 21-year-old carrying CBD oil into the U.S.
In this Nov. 6, 2017 file photo, a syringe with a dose of CBD oil is shown in a research laboratory in Fort Collins, Colo. CBD is a compound found in marijuana but doesn’t cause a high. On Tuesday, July 23, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration announced it has warned Curaleaf Inc., of Wakefield, Mass., for illegally selling unapproved CBD products. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
In a shocking about-turn, the lawyer for a 21-year-old Canadian woman facing a lifetime ban from the United States for not declaring CBD oil while crossing the border said the order has been reversed.
U.S. immigration lawyer Len Saunders, who represents the previously banned traveller, said it’s the best outcome to an unfortunate incident that started in August, when his client attempted to cross the border at Point Roberts.
“This is something she wasn’t expecting -- and I wasn’t expecting,” Saunders told CTV News Vancouver in an interview Tuesday afternoon, “but it’s a best-case scenario for her now, to not need a waiver to go to the U.S.”
In mid-August, Saunders his client, who requested not to be identified, was stopped at the border crossing near Tsawwassen and asked by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents if she was carrying any "leafy substances."
Saunders told CTV News Vancouver she replied "no" to the question, but when the Ontario university student was sent inside for a secondary inspection, agents found some CBD oil.
The attorney said CBP agents confiscated the oil, issued US$500 fines and banned her for life from entering the United States.
“It’s legal in Canada. It’s legal in Washington State. But under U.S. federal laws, these antiquated laws, it’s illegal,” Saunders said.
Regarding the reversal, U.S. CBP spokesperson Jason Givens wrote in an email to CTV News Vancouver that their management reviews all cases in which “travellers are deemed inadmissible.”
“In this particular case, management determined that it did not meet the terms for inadmissibility,” read the email. “In some instances, decisions about admissibility may be changed upon further review and presentation of additional information, verification of further evidence, etc.”
“It’s important to note, however, that all cases are unique and travellers are strongly encouraged to not attempt to cross the border with marijuana and products derived from marijuana.”
The waiver application to be permitted back into the United States can be both time-consuming and financially difficult, according to Saunders. However, at least for his female client, it’s now case-closed.
“She’s really happy – ecstatic.”
Saunders still urges travellers to simply leave anything that contains or might be suspected of containing cannabis, THC or CBD at home.