CANNABIS AND THE US BORDER: What does it mean for touring artists?


Confession or conviction?

The Canada-U.S border, sees nearly 300,00 people cross, per day.

The world's longest shared border is seeing Canadians turned away left right and centre. These rejections concern Canada's legalised Marijuana laws and the US's lack of acceptance for them.

Some US officials seem adamant that confessing to smoking or ingesting any Mary Jane is parallel to a weed related conviction.

As a result, such confessions have been considered fair grounds for denying entry to the US.

That means whether you're a Junior Prom-er (and Never again-er). Or a local Pot Head who can hit a 2g dab and survive a whitey. Or perhaps a black market marijuana growing mastermind, you would all come under the umbrella.

In March this year, we saw the US add a few extras onto the DS-160 visa application, including the official request for social media to be listed. This formalised aspect of visa application seems to have filtered through to US border agents. They have been cracking down on browsing the electronic devices of aspiring Canadian-US travellers to search for marijuana-related connections.

It seems the entry is at the hands of US customs and in particular each border control agent who happens to be on duty.


Canada's government website has recently taken the initiative to educate all cyber visitors about the dangers of denial.

They said: “Although the possession of cannabis is legal in some US states, it remains illegal under US federal laws in any form and quantity, making it illegal to bring across the Canada-U.S. border.

Previous use of cannabis, or any substance prohibited by US federal laws, could mean that you are denied entry to the US. Canadians travelling for reasons related to the cannabis industry may be deemed inadmissible".

On October 17th 2018, the federal Cannabis Act made Canada the second country in the world to formally legalise the cultivation, possession, acquisition and consumption of cannabis and it's by-products.

There are slight discrepancies across the country in regards to age limits and retail models but generally, reflect the alcohol rules of each province.

Federally in the US, it's illegal, and they don't seem to give a flying spliff what Canada has to say about it. Consequently, touring artists who are (or have been) openly involved in the Cannabis culture in Canada could have a problem.

We suggest if you have any aspirations for touring in the US, and have any digital history of cannabis use. Make sure to have a re-hash of your social media and make the absence of marijuana your only Instagram theme!