Seattle law firm sues US government over marijuana industry border bans

A Washington state law firm is suing the U.S. government in an try to realize “immediate” entry to data it hopes will make clear why some overseas nationals – notably Canadians – have been denied entry to the United States due to their involvement within the authorized hashish industry.

The go well with concentrating on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was filed by Seattle-based Davis Wright Tremaine on March 6 in federal District Court for the Western District of Washington.

According to the go well with, Davis Wright Tremaine seeks entry to the next info:

  • Whether the CBP’s actions are inside the scope of the authority granted by Congress
  • Whether the company is appearing based mostly on any insurance policies or procedures
  • Whether the CBP carried out its insurance policies or procedures in a method that complies with guidelines spelled out by Congress

The law firm represents shoppers concerned in state-legal leisure and medical hashish companies, lots of which make use of overseas nationals who journey to the United States.

Davis Wright Tremaine stated the CBP has refused to supply paperwork in response to U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, which is hampering the firm’s means to characterize its shoppers.

In July, a CBP official advised Marijuana Business Daily that admissibility to the United States could also be denied to somebody merely for “working or having involvement in the legal marijuana industry in U.S. states where it is deemed legal or in Canada” provided that hashish stays unlawful beneath U.S. law.

Since then, studies that a variety of Canadian hashish professionals have been banned for all times from getting into the U.S. due to their involvement within the marijuana sector have had a chilling have an effect on throughout the industry.

CBP assertion issued Oct. 9, 2018 did little to ease considerations. 

“If a traveler is found to be coming to the U.S. for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible,” the CBP said.

FOIA requests

On Sept. 27, 2018, Davis Wright Tremaine submitted FOIA requests to CBP’s major workplace and CBP’s Seattle subject workplace, in line with the go well with.

The firm states that neither CBP nor another federal company has responded to the requests.

The submission to the primary workplace sought:

“All records relating to CBP’s policies or practices of finding foreign nationals – or “aliens,” as that time period is used within the Immigration and Nationality Act § 212 – inadmissible for entry to the United States based mostly on their involvement in overseas hashish companies which function lawfully underneath the native home law of the jurisdiction through which they function … .”

The FOIA submission additionally sought:

“All records relating to CBP’s policies or practices referred to by Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations, in the September 13, 2018 Politico.com article U.S. OFFICIAL: CANADIAN MARIJUANA USERS, WORKERS AND INVESTORS RISK LIFETIME BORDER BAN, including the following statements: “If you work for the (Canadian cannabis) industry, that is grounds for inadmissibility”; and “Facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in U.S. states where it is deemed legal or Canada may affect an individual’s admissibility to the U.S. … .”

The law firm is asking the courtroom to declare that the CBP violated the Freedom of Information Act by not responding to its FOIA requests in a well timed style.

Davis Wright Tremaine can also be requesting that the courtroom:

  • Order CBP to right away disclose the requested data.
  • Award the firm affordable prices and lawyer’s charges.
  • Grant further aid the courtroom might deem simply and correct.

Matt Lamers might be reached at [email protected]

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