Ever smoked pot? ‘Yes’ can get foreigners barred for life at U.S.-Canada border

With recreational marijuana already legal up and down the West Coast, more Canadians may let down their guard and admit to U.S. authorities that they’ve used marijuana — which can get foreigners barred from entering the country.

WASHINGTON — Canada’s likely move to completely legalize marijuana next year promises to produce immediate spillover effects in the United States, starting with increased confusion at the U.S.-Canadian border.

“I’m expecting my business to boom,” said Len Saunders, an immigration attorney from Blaine, on the Washington side of the border.

With recreational marijuana already legal up and down the West Coast, from Alaska to California, he said, more Canadians may let down their guard and admit to U.S. authorities that they’ve used marijuana, reason enough to get foreigners barred from entering the country.

Beyond that, pot retailers and legalization backers say it’s difficult to predict exactly what might happen if Canada, as is expected on July 1, 2018, becomes only the second nation in the world to fully legalize pot for anyone over 18.

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Even with such a move, Jacob Lamont figures the Canadian customers will keep coming to Evergreen Cannabis, his pot shop in Blaine, just a few blocks from the border.

“I enjoy my brothers and sisters from the north — obviously they support my business quite well,” said Lamont, who estimates that Canadian customers make up 60 percent of his year-round business. “They still come down here. They buy a lot of milk, they buy cigarettes and they buy alcohol, because the taxation is so high up there. And I have a feeling they’re going to follow suit with marijuana.”

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., a longtime champion of legalization, said it could be a game changer for Congress.

“It completely changes the dynamic,” he said. “Some regard Canada as the 51st state. This is going…

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