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Gov’t employees working in legal pot industry may be denied entry into U.S., says B.C. solicitor general

B.C.’s solicitor general Mike Farnwoth is concerned government employees who work for provincially-run pot shops might be barred from entering the United States.

An employee might not smoke it but they might still be denied by U.S. border officials just by association.

That includes frontline workers, managers at legalized pot shops and even ministry staff.

Farnworth said it puts hundreds of government employees who want to travel at risk.

WATCH: Pot sector workers could face trouble at U.S. border

Click to play video: 'Pot sector workers could face trouble at U.S. border' Pot sector workers could face trouble at U.S. border
Pot sector workers could face trouble at U.S. border – Sep 14, 2018

“Ottawa is aware of provincial concerns around this question, in the same way they are concerned with what’s happening with regular citizens.”

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He adds it’s been a challenge dealing with U.S. officials.

“We have been told that they have absolutely zero interest in dealing with or addressing this issue… as far as they are concerned, their attitude could be concerned as ‘too bad so sad’… It is illegal as far as the federal government is concerned and they have no interest in dealing with it. My own sense of it is as long as we have the current guy in the White House, I don’t think it’s going to be a priority for them.”

READ MORE: Your legal pot buying data could get you banned from the U.S., lawyers warn

Government employees who work in the industry will be unionized under the B.C. Government Services Employees’ Union.

Union president Stephanie Smith said the BCGEU is aware of the situation.

“The reality is, this is a government-to-government issue and not a labour relations issue, but we are ready to take on any role we can to protect membership… this has national repercussions across the country.”

Smith said she would like to see the issue resolved but is not sure when that fix will come.

“Members who choose to work in this socially responsible way of selling recreational cannabis shouldn’t be unduly punished for doing so.”

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Recreational marijuana will be legal on Oct. 17.

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