By Pat Grubb
The impending nation-wide legalization of marijuana in Canada and the subsequent response of U.S. border agencies is driving a lot of media attention towards Blaine immigration attorney Len Saunders. Recently, a number of Canadian business people have received lifetime bans from the U.S. after border guards learned of their involvement in the highly nascent cannabis industry.
According to Saunders, businesses don’t actually have “to touch” marijuana to be considered part of the pot business. Canadian companies that provide financing to U.S. growers, producers or retailers or sell greenhouses or irrigation systems or other U.S. cannabis companies can be considered to be profiting off the avails of the marijuana industry and are subject to bans against travel to the U.S.
Saunders believes that recent Custom and Border Protection guidance sent to ports of entry is what is driving current enforcement action and believes that, in some cases, individuals involved in the business have been previously researched and “flagged” for attention as soon as they arrive at a U.S. port as opposed to being detained following routine questioning during entry procedures. Citing figures that project up to 40 percent of Canadians will try marijuana following its legalization in October, Saunders likens the Canadian border to the southern one and says that Canadian legalization will create “an invisible wall” on the 49th parallel.
In the last few weeks, Saunders has been interviewed or quoted by CTV, CBC, Vice, The Washington Post, Mother Jones magazine, Toronto Star, CKNW Radio and Business in Vancouver. On July 17, he was interviewed by CBS correspondent John Blackstone at the Peace Arch in a segment that was broadcast nationally on July 24 on the CBS Morning Show.