In mid-October 2018, recreational use of marijuana became legal across Canada. In advance thereof, on October 9, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol warned that if “[a] Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada … is found to be coming to the U.S. for reason related to the marijuana industry, [he or she] may be deemed inadmissible.” And, by mid-December 2018, there were public reports that Canadian investors in the cannabis industry had been permanently barred from entering the United States because they attempted to travel to the United States for a cannabis conference.
Clearly, for those in the cannabis industry, crossing from Canada into the United States has become a risky proposition. A direct result of the tension between U.S. and Canadian law, as well as the conflict between federal and state laws within the United States, where marijuana remains illegal at a federal level, the present situation is simply untenable.
Thankfully, one U.S. congressman has introduced legislation intended to remedy at least part of the problem.
In mid-December 2018, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced the “Maintaining Appropriate Protections for Legal Entry Act of 2018” (H.R. 7275), which is also known as the “MAPLE Act of 2018.” The stated purpose of this legislation is to amend U.S. federal immigration law to “clarify the admissibility and deportability of aliens acting in accordance with State and foreign marijuana laws.”
If enacted, the MAPLE Act of 2018 would amend U.S. law so that an alien who, for example, commits an act outside of the United States that would “constitute the essential elements of … a violation” of the federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 801, et seq., “related to marijuana” would no longer be deemed inadmissible to the United States so long as the conduct at issue “was lawful in the State, Indian Tribe, or foreign country in which the conduct occurred, or a law or regulation of a State, Indian Tribe, or foreign country related to marijuana, which conduct was subsequently made lawful under the law or regulation of such jurisdiction.”
MAPLE Act of 2018
The MAPLE Act of 2018, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on December 12, 2018, would amend the federal Immigration and Nationality Act (the INA). The amendments would affect non-U.S. citizens seeking to enter the United States (that is, admissibility), as well as those hoping to remain in the country (that is, deportability).