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.


Tradition, modernity mingle at Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shouts “banzai,” meaning “long live the emperor,” during the enthronement ceremony for Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. (AFP)
Updated 15 min 35 sec ago

Tradition, modernity mingle at Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement

  • Ritual-bound, centuries-old ceremony takes places at Imperial Palace in Tokyo
  • Heads of state and officials from Japan and 180 countries among the attendees

TOKYO: It was a ceremony similar to coronations used by monarchs worldwide, but combining the historical and the spiritual with modernity. Japan’s Emperor Naruhito formally completed his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Oct. 22.
Purple curtains were drawn back to reveal Naruhito, 59, and Empress Masako, 55, standing before their imperial thrones as the enthronement ceremony began.
Wearing a dark orange robe, similar to that worn by his father Akihito at his own enthronement in 1990, Naruhito proclaimed his ascension from a 6.5 meter-high, canopied “Takamikura” throne.
Through the centuries-old ceremony, Naruhito declared himself Japan’s 126th emperor and vowed to “stand with the people” before roughly 2,000 guests, including heads of state and officials from Japan and more than 180 countries. Among the attendees were Japanese royal family members also wearing traditional robes.
In his congratulatory message to the emperor, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised that the people of Japan would “respect (his) highness the emperor as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the Japanese people.” He then stood before Naruhito’s throne, bowed and raised his hands three times, shouting “banzai,” meaning “long live the emperor.”
Saudi Arabia was represented by Minister of State Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, who conveyed greetings from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Japanese people.Saudi Ambassador to Japan Naif bin Marzouq Al-Fahadi, and other Saudi officials, were also present.

Japan’s Princess Mako attended the enthronement ceremony. (AFP)


The enthronement ceremony is a part of a succession of rituals that began in May when Naruhito inherited the throne, after Akihito became the first emperor to abdicate in 200 years.
As Naruhito ascended the throne, boxes containing items of imperial regalia, including an imperial sword and jewel, were presented to him.
“Having previously succeeded to the Imperial Throne in accordance with the constitution of Japan and the Special Measures Law on the Imperial House Law, I now … proclaim my enthronement to those at home and abroad,” the Japan Times newspaper quoted Naruhito as declaring.
“I pledge hereby that I shall act according to the constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the state, and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always wishing for the happiness of the people and the peace of the world, turning my thoughts to the people and standing by them.” An imperial procession that was to take place after the ceremony was postponed after Typhoon Hagibis hit Tokyo earlier this month. On Nov. 10, the emperor and empress will take part in a procession through central Tokyo to the Akasaka Imperial Residence.
To mark the enthronement, the government has granted pardons to more than half a million people found guilty of petty crimes such as traffic violations.
In an article for Arab News, Shihoko Goto, deputy director for geoeconomics at the Asia Program of the US think tank the Wilson Center, asked a question she believes will be echoed by many in Japan: “Can the country carry on its historical legacy while embracing the opportunities of the 21st century? “The new imperial couple is likely to want to further Emperor Akihito’s legacy as a conduit for reconciliation.”