US says it will stop Canadian pot businessmen at border

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A young man holds a bag of marijuana he bought in a cannabis store in Quebec City,Canada, on October 17, 2018. Statistics Canada says 5.4 million Canadians will buy cannabis from legal dispensaries in 2018 — about 15 percent of the population. (AFP / Alice Chiche)
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A customer shows the marijuana he bought in a cannabis store in Quebec City, Canada, on October 17, 2018. Statistics Canada says 5.4 million Canadians will buy cannabis from legal dispensaries in 2018 — about 15 percent of the population. (AFP / Alice Chiche)
Updated 18 October 2018

US says it will stop Canadian pot businessmen at border

  • The stance posed a new threat to the already extensive US-Canadian cross-border exchanges of supplies, technology and investment in the marijuana sector
  • The seemingly contradictory stance arises from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ determination to enforce the federal ban on marijuana

WASHINGTON: Canada may have legalized recreational marijuana Wednesday, but executives of the country’s booming pot industry need to be aware that they are not exactly welcome south of the border in the United States.
As the world’s first major economy fully legalized cannabis, officials of US Customs and Border Protection warned they won’t admit anyone arriving with the intent “to aid in the proliferation of the marijuana business.”
Even if some US states and localities, including the capital Washington, permit medical or recreational pot use, the CBP warned that the drug remains illegal under US federal law, giving them the responsibility to fight its use and promotion.
“If... a Canadian is coming to the United States and it has nothing to do with the marijuana industry or the proliferation of the industry, that person would generally be deemed admissible,” CBP officer Christopher Perry said in a press conference in Detroit, Michigan, on the Canadian border.
But “if they’re coming to the United States... with the express interest to facilitate or develop the marijuana industry, they would generally be deemed inadmissible.”
The stance posed a new threat to the already extensive cross-border exchanges of supplies, technology and investment in the marijuana sector.
Canadian companies have already lent funding and expertise to US cannabis companies in the eight states like Colorado, California and Maine where recreational use is allowed, and around 30 others which permit medical marijuana.
Moreover, shares in a number of Canadian pot firms are traded on US stock markets, including the largest, Canopy Growth Corporation, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Theoretically, the CBP’s stance could prevent their executives from traveling to US financial centers on business, which could be considered supporting “proliferation” of pot.
The seemingly contradictory stance arises from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ determination to enforce the federal ban on marijuana.
Amid growing acceptance across the country of the drug, on January 4 Sessions rescinded standing federal government policies to tolerate the stance of state and local governments, declaring “a return to the rule of law.”
At the same time, Sessions permitted federal prosecutors to exercise their own discretion in their regions.


UK’s Johnson to visit European capitals seeking Brexit breakthrough

Updated 18 August 2019

UK’s Johnson to visit European capitals seeking Brexit breakthrough

  • Johnson will travel for talks with German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron
  • Johnson is expected to push for the EU to reopen negotiations over the terms of Brexit

LONDON: UK's Boris Johnson will visit European capitals this week on his first overseas trip as prime minister, as his government said Sunday it had ordered the scrapping of the decades-old law enforcing its EU membership.

Johnson will travel to Berlin on Wednesday for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and on to Paris Thursday for discussions with French President Emmanuel Macron, Downing Street confirmed on Sunday, amid growing fears of a no-deal Brexit in two and a half months.

The meetings, ahead of a two-day G7 summit starting Saturday in the southern French resort of Biarritz, are his first diplomatic forays abroad since replacing predecessor Theresa May last month.

Johnson is expected to push for the EU to reopen negotiations over the terms of Brexit or warn that it faces the prospect of Britain's disorderly departure on October 31 -- the date it is due to leave.

European leaders have repeatedly rejected reopening an accord agreed by May last year but then rejected by British lawmakers on three occasions, despite Johnson's threats that the country will leave then without an agreement.

In an apparent show of intent, London announced Sunday that it had ordered the repeal of the European Communities Act, which took Britain into the forerunner to the EU 46 years ago and gives Brussels law supremacy.

The order, signed by Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay on Friday, is set to take effect on October 31.

"This is a landmark moment in taking back control of our laws from Brussels," Barclay said in a statement.

"This is a clear signal to the people of this country that there is no turning back -- we are leaving the EU as promised on October 31, whatever the circumstances -- delivering on the instructions given to us in 2016."

The moves come as Johnson faces increasing pressure to immediately recall MPs from their summer holidays so that parliament can debate Brexit.

More than 100 lawmakers, who are not due to return until September 3, have demanded in a letter that he reconvene the 650-seat House of Commons and let them sit permanently until October 31.

"Our country is on the brink of an economic crisis, as we career towards a no-deal Brexit," said the letter, signed by MPs and opposition party leaders who want to halt a no-deal departure.

"We face a national emergency, and parliament must be recalled now."

Parliament is set to break up again shortly after it returns, with the main parties holding their annual conferences during the September break.

Main opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wants to call a vote of no confidence in Johnson's government after parliament returns.

He hopes to take over as a temporary prime minister, seek an extension to Britain's EU departure date to stop a no-deal Brexit, and then call a general election.

"What we need is a government that is prepared to negotiate with the European Union so we don't have a crash-out on the 31st," Corbyn said Saturday.

"This government clearly doesn't want to do that."

Britain could face food, fuel and medicine shortages and chaos at its ports in a no-deal Brexit, The Sunday Times newspaper reported, citing a leaked government planning document.

There would likely be some form of hard border imposed on the island of Ireland, the document implied.

Rather than worst-case scenarios, the leaked document, compiled this month by the Cabinet Office ministry, spells out the likely ramifications of a no-deal Brexit, the broadsheet claimed.

The document said logjams could affect fuel distribution, while up to 85 percent of trucks using the main ports to continental Europe might not be ready for French customs.

The availability of fresh food would be diminished and prices would go up, the newspaper said.