If you happen to carry one of the two most popular credit cards in the U.S., Visa or Mastercard, don’t plan on using it on cannabis while visiting Canada as a U.S. citizen. Because the Patriot Act remains kicking, the U.S. government has carte blanche to examine your transactions while traveling, and if they include weed, you could have some problems at the border.
This applies to Canadians as well. If they happen to use one or both of the two major cards they can be denied entry at the border, not just temporarily, but forever. There is talk about the U.S. legalizing cannabis itself as a nation, so the law may be changed during that big if, but it hasn’t happened yet and no one is advised to hold their breath waiting.
Unfortunately, this also means that when you and your cronies go on the celebratory legalization trip up to our Canadian neighbors, if you haven’t already, don’t take selfies with pot and post them to places like Twitter and Facebook. Apparently these are under scrutiny as well.
Canadians shouldn’t be using credit cards to buy weed, really, at all. If someone works at a company that has an ancillary business in the U.S., the eyes of Uncle Sam are on and the word “trafficking” comes into play.
In Ontario, the system is currently set up so that the only way to purchase marijuana is online via Visa or Mastercard and to have it delivered. And across Canada, even where there are retail stores, this handy option is available. But as long as people are using plastic to buy weed, they may never enter the U.S. again. At least until the U.S. goes legal itself.
Some Canadians really don’t care to visit the U.S., anyway, but even a cavalier attitude may not be the best bet. Even if cannabis is not legal federally in the U.S., nine states and D.C. have legalized and thirty states have medical use laws in place. That seems like a lot of common ground that can be used for the exchange of ideas and best practices.
If you don’t work in the industry, but live in Ontario or anywhere in Canada for that matter, be aware of these consequences. Because let’s say your company merges with a U.S. company and now business trips come into play. If you’ve been ordering your marijuana online, you may not be the one traveling because of the border risk. It’s a sad state of affairs, but hopefully the U.S. tides will turn sooner than later. We can use all the friends we can keep.