A young Canadian woman thought that since marijuana is legal throughout Canada and in Washington state, it would be OK to bring the non-psychoactive CBD oil she uses for medical purposes from one to the other. She was very wrong. The woman, who uses the cannabis-derived product to treat the side effects of scoliosis, was fined $500 and denied entry to the US after officers at the Blaine, Washington, crossing found the oil. "I felt like a criminal and they seemed like, 'Oh, here's another pothead using this,'" she tells the CBC. "I didn't feel like I was treated with respect on it, considering it's for a medical purpose." Like thousands of other Canadians who have admitted using cannabis or been caught with the drug at the border, she now faces a possible lifetime ban from the US, where cannabis remains illegal at the federal level.
The woman, a regular traveler to the US, says she knew crossing the border with loose cannabis is illegal, but didn't realize the same rule applied to oil used for medicinal purposes that doesn't get you high. A farm bill last year legalized some forms of CBD oil, but no rule change has been made at the border yet. "There seems to be a lot of confusion with Canadians entering the US with regards to CBD and THC and all the derivatives from marijuana," American immigration lawyer Len Saunders says. He says the woman will probably be "in the system" for the rest of her life, but she may be able to return to the US at some point if she completes the difficult and expensive process of applying for a waiver. (A great-grandmother carrying CBD oil was arrested at Disney World.)