U.S. border protection has barred a young Canadian woman from crossing the border after cannabidiol (CBD) oil was found in her backpack — a non-psychoactive product of the cannabis plant she uses to treat the painful side effects of scoliosis.
The woman, who has asked not to be identified by CBC News pending the outcome of an application for reentry, is the latest Canadian to face border troubles after Canada legalized cannabis last year.
Thousands of Canadians have been denied entry to the U.S. simply for admitting they’ve smoked a joint once in their lives. Others have been banned from entering the country for life for carrying cannabis products to the border — a punishment that this unsuspecting CBD oil user could now face as well, according to immigration experts.
While some U.S. states have dismantled prohibition, cannabis possession remains a criminal offence federally and — like heroin — cannabis remains a controlled substance under U.S. federal law.
And the U.S. border is, of course, governed by federal law. Travellers are prohibited from carrying cannabis and its related products over the border — even after the federal government in Washington removed industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances in December 2018.
Pulled over for a secondary check at the Blaine, Washington crossing last weekend, the woman said she was asked by border patrol officers if she had any “leafy greens” on her person. The officer did not say the word “cannabis,” she said.
“I said no because, to me, ‘leafy greens’ is like marijuana, the actual bud, things that you smoke, recreational drugs. I use CBD daily and it’s not psychoactive, it can’t get me high at the dosage that I’ve been told to take it at,” she told CBC News.