Pubdate: Thu, 22 Dec 2016
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2016 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Laura Kane
Page: S1


Their position on marijuana is hardly the only difference between
Canada's Prime Minister and the president-elect of the United States.

But when Justin Trudeau's government introduces legislation to
legalize cannabis this spring, it could spark problems between Canada
and the United States, particularly since Donald Trump has indicated
he will keep pot illegal at the federal level.

Here's a look at what could change in Canada-U.S. relations once
Canadians start lighting up legally.

Border control

Len Saunders, an immigration lawyer in Blaine, Wash., predicts a boom
in his business after Canada legalizes marijuana - though it's one he
has a hard time feeling happy about.

Mr. Saunders represents Canadians who have been banned from entering
the United States after admitting they have smoked marijuana in the
past. Every year, he files as many as 30 costly waivers for people
who've made this admission and hope to regain access.

He said many Canadians assume because eight states have legalized
recreational cannabis, they're safe telling a U.S. border guard
they've inhaled. But it's important to remember that borders are under
federal jurisdiction, which will keep pot illegal for the foreseeable
future, he said.

"If the question is ever asked, 'Do you smoke marijuana or have you
smoked it in the past?' My advice as an attorney is, 'That's a
question you don't have to answer,' " he said. Earlier this year,
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Canadians banned from
entering the United States because they've admitted to using pot was a
"ludicrous situation" that needed to be addressed.

Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for the minister, said Mr. Goodale will
continue to discuss with American officials the need for Canadians to
be treated appropriately when they are entering the United States.
However, Joshua Labove, a PhD candidate in the geography department at
British Columbia's Simon Fraser University with expertise in the
Canada-U.S. border, said it's unlikely Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Trump will
be "natural chums," as the Prime Minister and President Barack Obama

"Whereas there may have been the creativity to solve some of these
problems before, communication may become a bit more walled off or
calcified between Washington and Ottawa," he said. "A portfolio like
marijuana legalization may just be one of those that just falls by the


While some celebrities might be backtracking on their threats to move
to Canada with the Trump win, Americans with experience in the
marijuana industry could well flock north of the border.

Betsy Kane, an Ottawa-based immigration lawyer, said she's already
completed several visa applications for Americans seeking jobs with
Canadian medicalmarijuana companies. It's a standard application, she
said, for professions including horticulturalists, plant breeders,
biologists and management consultants.

She anticipates that a legal recreational industry in Canada is likely
to create more jobs, and that Americans with experience in states that
have legal recreational pot already - such as Colorado and Washington
- - will be sought for their expertise.


In order to legalize marijuana, Canada will have to amend its
involvement in three international conventions that criminalize
possession and production of cannabis.

One of the strongest supporters of these treaties is the United
States, and the process of "denunciation" will take some time, said
Errol Mendes, a constitutional and international law professor at the
University of Ottawa.

For example, after Canada denounces the Single Convention on Narcotic
Drugs, it will take a year before the treaty no longer applies to it.
Canada could also seek to apply reservations - basically exceptions
for marijuana - but the other signatories would have to give permission.

Mr. Mendes said the easiest way for Canada to get out of these
treaties would be to denounce them and then seek to reapply with
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