US Customs and Border: Still illegal to bring marijuana into Michigan after Canada's legalization

Federal law enforcement says nothing has changed

A view of the Ambassador Bridge over the Detroit River on Aug. 22, 2018. (WDIV)
A view of the Ambassador Bridge over the Detroit River on Aug. 22, 2018. (WDIV)

DETROIT – The U.S. Customs and Border Protection reiterated Wednesday that despite Canada's legalization of recreational marijuana the substance is still illegal under U.S. federal law and will not be allowed to cross the border. 

Director of Field Operations Christopher Perry, who is in charge of the state of Michigan's international border crossing, including Detroit Metro Airport, said nothing has changed. 

"Although medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in some U.S. states and Canada, the sale, possession, production, and distribution of marijuana or the facilitation of the aforementioned remain illegal under U.S. federal law," he said. 

That means no one is allowed to cross into the United States with marijuana. Perry said U.S. federal law supersedes state law, so even if recreational marijuana becomes legal in Michigan later this year, the same law will be enforced at the Canadian border. 

"Violation may result in denied admission, seizure, fines and apprehension," Perry said. "The U.S. federal law that prohibits the importation of marijuana has not changed, and U.S. CBP officers will continue those laws that remain unchanged."

What about a Canadian crossing the border into the United States? Perry said it is possible, based on that person's specific case, that his or her involvement with the possession, production, and distribution of marijuana could affect his or her admission to the U.S. But that's on a case-by-case basis. Border officials aren't changing their routine questioning after Canada's legalization took affect on Wednesday. 

"We generally aren't asking questions about peoples' marijuana use," Perry said. 

For complete coverage of marijuana in Michigan, reference ClickOnDetroit's special section here

Cannabis in Ontario overview

Here's a quick overview of the cannabis legalization in Canada, specifically for the province of Ontario (per the government of Ontario): 

Ontario will have laws in place (after extensive public and stakeholder engagement) about how, where and who can buy and possess cannabis in the province. The government has also introduced legislation that, if passed, would help the province move forward with a tightly regulated private retail model for cannabis that would launch by April 1, 2019.

You will need to be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis. This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.

Using cannabis and driving is illegal and dangerous. Cannabis, like many other drugs, slows your reaction time and increases your chances of being in a collision. If a police officer finds that you are impaired by any drug, including cannabis, you will face serious penalties, including:

  • an immediate licence suspension
  • financial penalties
  • possible vehicle impoundment
  • possible criminal record
  • possible jail time

Police officers will be authorized to use oral fluid screening devices at roadside. Once a federally approved device is available, we will implement the use of those devices to help police enforce the law.

Read more here

Michigan law enforcement prepare

Back here in Michigan, law enforcement is preparing for the legalization of recreational marijuana. Polls show the proposal to legalize it in the state of Michigan is poised to be approved in the Nov. 6 election. 

The Michigan Association of Police Chiefs sent out data from Colorado law enforcement to police departments across the state. They wanted all police chiefs to see the numbers, and they encouraged sharing it in their communities.

Read more about this here

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