Despite cannabis becoming legal across the country in less than a month, we've been getting some pretty bad news lately when it comes to travelling to the U.S. as a marijuana user.
TL;DR U.S. border officers now have full visibility of a Canadian's credit card purchases, including those related to cannabis. This information would ultimately assist them in banning you from entering the States for life. Most provinces will only have online shopping available for the rest of year after cannabis legalization on Oct. 17, meaning using a credit card would be inevitable. Some provinces are being more discreet with how a purchase will show up on your payment history, while others make it painfully obvious what you had bought.
Canadians have already been warned confessing to a border agent that you are a cannabis user could land you with a lifetime ban from entering the U.S. But who knew that the patrol officers are just finding new and invading ways to get you to crack?
It turns out your credit card history when purchasing cannabis will be totally available for U.S. officers to see at the border.
When credit card data is stored in the States, U.S. authorities don't need a warrant to take a peak at a Canadian's payment history whenever they want.
It gets worse, once they have physical proof you've purchased marijuana before (even if it was legally) they can then force you to admit to being a user. You would then not only be banned for using the drug, but you could be facing some more trouble if you had been lying to a border officer.
Considering only online purchases will be possible in most provinces when it comes to cannabis legalization on October 17, it will be pretty difficult to not have to use your credit card.
Luckily, some provinces have found a way to work around the problem by covering up their tracks. For example, when you buy cannabis in Nova Scotia, your payment history will show up under NSLC (Nova Scotia Liquor Commission). So rather than border officers seeing the word "WEED" in all bold as they hope for, they wouldn't be able to tell whether or not it was just alcohol you had purchased (which for now, is still totally allowed).
For other provinces, such as Quebec, they make it a little harder to be discreet with purchases. Payment history will be entered under Société québécoise du cannabis store. The U.S. won't need to do much probing in this case before banning you for life.
Your best bet is to purchase all cannabis with a debit card, or better yet use cash whenever you're given the opportunity.
With Canadian credit card history being completely visible to U.S. officers, who knows what other information you could have held against you in the future?