On January 16, 2019, every of the three California hashish businesses dropped a remaining set of laws. In lots of senses, the Bureau of Hashish Management’s (“BCC”) laws had been probably the most complete and expansive (we summarized a few of the highlights right here, and summarized the highlights of the California Division of Public Well being’s remaining laws right here). In a single space specifically, the BCC’s laws might have some unintended and far-reaching results: immigration.
For some reference, one of many largest adjustments to the BCC’s laws is within the “possession” disclosure necessities, which now would require disclosure of individuals as potential house owners who could also be far faraway from the precise licensed entity. To recap, within the publish linked above, we wrote:
[The BCC’s] entity possession necessities kick in in any state of affairs wherein an organization owns a licensee—not solely the place the possession is predicated in fairness (keep in mind that possession can be primarily based on route, administration, or management of a licensee or different grounds). If an entity is taken into account an proprietor, then anybody with a monetary curiosity in that entity should be disclosed to the BCC and could also be thought of an proprietor.
This can be a tremendously important requirement and implies that just about everybody within the company chain should be disclosed (and possibly should present all the many important and burdensome disclosures). For instance, if John Smith immediately owns 1% of the BCC licensee ABC Retailer and doesn’t train any management over ABC Retailer, he will probably be thought of a monetary curiosity holder versus an proprietor. But when he owns 1% of XYX Holdings, which has a 20% stake in ABC Retailer, he’ll must be disclosed to the BCC and could also be thought of an proprietor.”
What this might imply in different phrases is that extra folks, and other people increased up a company chain, might must make “possession” disclosures. A kind of disclosures is the requirement per BCC Regulation 5002(c)(20)(D) to supply a Social Safety Quantity (“SSN”) or particular person taxpayer identification quantity (“ITIN”), and one other is the requirement to acquire a dwell scan. These are important necessities for overseas individuals who “personal” hashish companies and, as described under, might have an effect on their immigration standing.
SSNs can be found for residents and residents of america. ITINs could also be accessible in restricted circumstances to overseas individuals who’ve a necessity for tax identification functions in america, however they’re considerably complicated to acquire and require sure documentation (both a federal earnings tax return or some “exemption” paperwork). And dwell scans are federal background checks that land in federal databases, and consequently, in scorching water.
The rationale background checks for overseas nationals are problematic is that any direct or peripheral involvement within the hashish trade is incompatible with the immigration legal guidelines of america. This is applicable to everybody who shouldn’t be a United States citizen, together with lawful everlasting residents (i.e., inexperienced card holders), these dwelling, learning, and/or working in america beneath a licensed nonimmigrant visa, these quickly visiting america for enterprise or pleasure, and naturally, those that don’t have any authorized standing in america.
As defined beforehand, even the place a overseas particular person is touring to a state the place marijuana is authorized, federal legislation applies in any respect U.S. ports-of-entry and preflight clearance areas (the “border”). The U.S. Customs and Border Safety (“CBP”) officer on the border has the authorized authority to query the overseas particular person concerning the objective of the go to and has advance entry to the checklist of airline passengers on every flight and the license plate of every automobile ready at a border checkpoint.
By the point a overseas particular person is greeted by the CBP officer, seemingly unrelated dots between an online search and dwell scan and different databases have already been related for the officer to make use of in questioning the overseas particular person about his connection to a hashish enterprise.
If the overseas particular person needs to lie about his involvement, he ought to completely not. The CBP has broad authority to go looking digital gadgets, together with cell telephones and laptops. If the CBP officer finds any data to contradict the overseas particular person’s statements, it will possibly doubtlessly completely ban her or him from coming into america due to fraud or misrepresentation, and never only for violating the Managed Substances Act.
Beneath the BCC’s new possession laws and its dwell scan requirement, just a few issues are clear. First, individuals who earlier might not have certified as house owners now would possibly. This will embrace a bunch of overseas residents who now must receive ITINs and endure dwell scans. Second, dwell scans are a part of a federal database, so federal brokers could possibly cease and ask purchasers questions on why they’ve undergone dwell scans. Furthermore, and third, beneath the BCC’s dwell scan memo (linked above), dwell scan varieties gained’t be despatched till an software is made, so overseas individuals coming into america to endure a dwell scan will by definition have already got utilized for a hashish software and thus might threat being turned away.
What’s clear is that possession of a hashish enterprise is a threat on the subject of immigration. The BCC’s latest laws might move that threat on to a bunch of latest individuals. Keep tuned to the Canna Regulation Weblog for extra developments. Within the meantime, for extra on immigration and hashish, try the next: