Employment lawyer Howard Levitt says workers in Canada’s cannabis sector who don’t want to run the risk of being banned permanently from entering the United States should consider finding a new job.  

“If I were an employee in the medical marijuana industry – or marijuana industry more broadly – I would be leaving immediately,” Levitt – a senior partner at Toronto-based Levitt LLP told BNN Bloomberg in an interview Friday.

Canada is set to legalize recreational use of cannabis on Oct. 17, but the drug is still illegal under U.S. Federal law. U.S. border officials have warned Canadians who smoke marijuana, work in the cannabis sector – or even invest in burgeoning pot companies could be barred entering the country.

“It’s going to be a real issue for employers and a much bigger issue for employees, who – if I were them – would be panic-stricken right now,” said Levitt.

The threat of the ban should be taken seriously by all Canadian employers – and not just those in the cannabis sector, said Levitt. Companies hiring new employees should ask prospective hires if they have any current or past connection to the marijuana industry that could put them in the crosshairs of U.S. border officials, he said.

“There could be a risk to that employee being able to conduct business with U.S. customers in the States or going to conferences in the States or….being able to attend training (in the U.S.)”

In the meantime, workers in Canada’s cannabis sector should stay away from the U.S. border until they find a new job, said Levitt.

“I would not be crossing the border until I am safely out of that company,” he said.