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Canadian Cannabis

With the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Canada, it is important to remember that, despite your feelings on the matter, it remains illegal in the United States. If you are thinking of taking a baking weekend over the border, think very carefully about bringing it back with you.

The possible penalties involved in bringing marijuana back into the United States varies based on how much of it you have and what the prosecuting authorities think you are planning to do with it.

New York does not permit the possession of marijuana, though in some circumstances medical cannibanoids may be possessed with an authorized prescription. New York's state penalties for marijuana possession can be as little as a $100 fine. Penalties increase to possible jail time if the possession is public (or if it is being consumed in public) or if a person is caught with more than 25 grams.

The Federal government, on the other hand, still considered marijuana a Schedule I narcotic, in the same ilk as heroin, cocaine, or LSD. When crossing the border, you are in the jurisdiction of the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency. This subjects you to possible Federal penalties if you are discovered to be bringing marijuana in to the United States from Canada. Despite the more lenient stance New York takes on marijuana, the Federal government has not followed suit.

In fact, since taking office, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made a point to intensify the enforcement of Federal drug laws. 21 U.S.C. § 952 specifically prohibits the importation of any Schedule I narcotics. Again, penalties vary based on the amount, but are more severe than authorized by the states.

Though our neighbors to the north have taken a progressive stance on marijuana, until the state and Federal governments follow suit, it is highly advisable to leave such frivolities north of the border.

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