Sam Znaimer is a Vancouver resident. He’s a venture capitalist that has a 30-year investment history. Znaimer invests in the U.S. marijuana industry but was recently detained and questioned for 4-hours while trying to enter the U.S. from Canada.
Because Znaimer invests in U.S. marijuana companies, the U.S. government claims he is “assisting and abetting in the illicit trafficking of drugs,” CBS News reports. Immigration attorney Len Saunders says there have been at least a dozen more cases just like this one that have occurred at the Blaine Land Crossing in Washington.
Znaimer said, “To my shock and horror, I was told that I was deemed to be inadmissible to the United States because I was assisting and abetting in the illicit trafficking of drugs. They never asked whether I had consumed marijuana, the only thing that they’re interested in is that I’ve been an investor in U.S.-based cannabis companies. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that anyone as peripherally involved with these companies as an investor could possibly be deemed to be assisting and abetting. It is a huge regulatory overreach.”
Similar issues have occurred in the Vancouver and Edmonton airports in recent months as well.
Saunders said, “You’re being barred because you’re getting paid through drug money, even though it’s marijuana. It might as well be cocaine or heroin…These are not people who have criminal convictions, these are not people who are terrorists or a threat to the United States”
Canada has a marijuana industry stock exchange, and American companies are listed on it. Anyone, anywhere in the world can buy stock in the companies listed on the exchange.
Due to the recent events with Mr. Znaimer, Canadian investors may be scared away from American marijuana companies, according to industry analyst Giadha Aguirre De Carcer.
“Canada has matured as a market, with better regulation, faster and earlier. It could have a very damaging effect to legal cannabis businesses in the United States, and it could do so to the point of crippling the market,” said De Carcer.
Because of this situation, and now basically being labeled as an international drug trafficking aid, Sam Znaimer may never be able to enter into the U.S. again. For now, he’s banned from entering. It’s unknown whether these practices are part of a new border enforcement policy. It’s merely stated that determinations regarding border crossing eligibility is done on a case-by-case basis and is based upon the information available at that specific time.