Can you cross the Canada-U.S. border with CBD? Maybe, but don't risk it

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Since legalizing cannabis last year, the Canadian government has repeatedly issued stern warnings against carrying the drug over the border into the United States.

Which of course makes sense. While recreational cannabis is legal in states like Washington and California, at America’s federal level, anything with THC in it (somehow) remains a Schedule I narcotic.

But CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second active ingredient in cannabis. Unlike THC, it is not psychoactive, meaning it will not get you high.

Is it legal? That’s a complicated question.

Regardless, a CBD boom across America has grocery-store shelves stocked with more CBD-infused products than breakfast cereals. But while the alleged-miracle product is everywhere lately, one place you don’t want to take it is anywhere near the Canada-U.S. border.

An anonymous woman who’s been speaking to CBC News learned that the hard way when she recently received a lifetime ban from entering the United States after customs agents caught her with CBD at the border crossing between B.C. and Washington.

The 21-year-old Ontario resident was fingerprinted, fined $500, barred from entering the United States, and told that she was banned from future visits pending her successful completion of a special waiver she would have to obtain before every trip she intended to take to the U.S. for the rest of her life (at a cost of $585 per application, regardless of each request’s success).

The lifetime ban was subsequently reversed, CBC News reported today (September 3). But it was reversed without any explanation. The question of whether U.S. border agents are cool with CBD is more confusing than ever.

"Going forward all I can tell people is to be cautious on what they bring to the United States because who knows, today CBD oil is OK, but CBD oil next month may not be," the woman’s lawyer, Len Saunders, told CBC News. "Nobody really knows what's going on."