On October 17th, 2018, Bill C-45, more commonly known as the Cannabis Act, will see the legal consumption of personal and medicinal marijuana in Canada enter into effect. This will impact all manners of travel both in, and out, of Canada, including leisure and business travel. Impacts, that Canadian investor Sam Znaimer faced recently when he was denied entry into the USA. His story was covered by CTV News below:

As we approach October 17th, there are things we know, things we don’t know, and things we can assume. Stakeholders in the travel industry, from airlines to corporate travel managers, need to communicate these changes to end-users, like Sam Znaimer, and in a manner that is easy to understand and put into practice. 

What we do know:

  • October 17th sees the Cannabis Act into effect.
  • That taking cannabis or cannabis-based products INTO Canada remains illegal and could result in serious criminal penalties and records.
  • That taking cannabis or cannabis-based products OUTSIDE of Canada’s international borders remains illegal and could result in serious criminal penalties and lifetime records.
  • That possession of cannabis remains illegal under U.S. federal laws in any form and any quantity.
  • That previous use of cannabis, or any substance prohibited by U.S. federal laws, could deny entry at any border point.
  • That involvement in the legal cannabis industry in Canada could also deny entry at any US border point.

What we don’t know:

  • How this will impact entrance to other countries, not including the USA, and especially those with harsher policies on drug/substance use.
  • Does working, or investing in the Cannabis sector leave a shared internationally accessible record for all current and/or future governments to access?

What we can assume:

  • Working, or investing in the Cannabis sector could leave a shared international record for all current or future governments to access?
  • Working or investing in the Cannabis sector may have the potential to impact one’s current and future ability to travel internationally.

Where we go from here:

We need to communicate these changes to Canadian employees, directors, investors that represent any business interest outside of Canada. We need to communicate these changes to international employees, directors, investors that represent any business interest in Canada.

When creating business policy, one could certainly take a laissez-faire page out of Las Vegas’ ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ brand playbook, or one could take a more measured approach and recommend limiting the exposure to the substance, citing the known, unknown and assumed positions both in and outside the nation’s borders.

Some additional resources: