Travel restrictions

As travel restrictions ease, CBSA reminds Canadians not to cross the border with cannabis

‘Don’t bring it. Don’t take it off’

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Ahead of the Thanksgiving long weekend and as travel restrictions ease, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is reminding Canadians not to cross the border with cannabis.

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Stating that the federal agency is “pleased to accommodate the returning volumes of travelers crossing the border,” the CBSA issued some advice for those planning to head south for Columbus Day in the United States or as part of their Thanksgiving plans.

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  1. The agency notes that it is illegal to bring cannabis and cannabis products into or out of Canada without a valid permit or exemption from Health Canada.  CBSA PHOTO

    Canada Border Services Agency seizes nearly 900 kilograms of cannabis destined for export

  2. Customs officers found 30 vacuum-sealed cannabis packets in one piece of luggage and 31 similar packets in the man's second suitcase.  PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

    Canadian jailed in Barbados after pleading guilty to importing 30kg of cannabis

  3. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) working at the Massena, New York port of entry discovered the contraband cannabis after their suspicions were raised during a primary check of the vehicle.  /

    Canadian arrested for trying to smuggle five kilograms of pot across the border

Noting that Mondays of long holiday weekends tend to be the busiest, with longer border wait times, the CBSA encourages travelers to cross at off-peak times, such as early morning.

When it comes to cannabis, the agency is clear: “Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out.”

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“Cross-border transportation of cannabis in any form, including any oil containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), without a license or exemption authorized by Health Canada remains a serious criminal offense subject to arrest and prosecution. , despite the legalization of cannabis in Canada. Canada,” the agency notes.

Last year, the CBSA established new penalties for crossing the border with cannabis, announcing that it would begin imposing monetary penalties on travelers who fail to declare cannabis and cannabis products correctly when they cross the border.

“This is another tool, in addition to criminal prosecution, to crack down on the unauthorized cross-border movement of cannabis in any form,” the agency reported at the time.

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The penalties apply to travelers who “provide information to an agent that is not true, accurate and complete; or fail to report imported goods containing cannabis.

Border services officers may detain undeclared cannabis or cannabis products without release conditions and serve the traveler with a written notice of penalty assessment indicating the contravention and a penalty ranging from $200 to $2,000.

Penalty assessment is based on the type of violation and its severity, as well as whether or not the traveler has a history of non-compliance. In some cases, the agency may initiate criminal proceedings in addition to the monetary penalty.

Travelers who disagree with the monetary penalty have 90 days to request a ministerial review of the officer’s decision.

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A few Canadians have been arrested for traveling with cannabis in recent months, though the offenses are much bigger than forgetting to declare a joint.

In August, a 59-year-old Toronto man was jailed after trying to smuggle more than 30 kilograms of cannabis into Barbados in two suitcases. Apprehended at Grantley Adams International Airport after customs officers searched his luggage, the man was unable to pay a fine of $80,000 (about $52,000) and was later sentenced to 36 months.

Earlier this year, a 24-year-old Canadian was arrested in New York state after customs officials found US$24,000 ($32,800) worth of marijuana in the trunk of his vehicle. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Port of Entry in Massena, New York, discovered the bud after their suspicions were raised during an initial vehicle control.

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A Canadian was also behind the wheel in a recent attempt to import 158 ​​kilograms of cannabis into Michigan by tractor-trailer.

The truck was stopped shortly after crossing the Blue Water Bridge in Michigan. Authorities observed the truck parked in front of a closed business on Gratiot Avenue in Columbus Township, with a pickup truck parked alongside and men unloading cargo from the truck into the pickup truck.

Upon further inspection, officers found the jar and 11 kilograms of ecstasy. Police estimate the total value of the drugs seized at more than $1 million.

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