The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has announced that they will continue their fight in the losing battle of cannabis prohibition by banning Canadian cannabis users and workers from entering the United States.
Customs official Todd Owen told Politico that they will interrogate Canadian citizens that they suspect of using cannabis, and anyone who says yes, or lies, will be banned from the US for life. Additionally, anyone working in the legal cannabis industry will be labeled as a drug trafficker by the agency, even if they aren’t in possession of cannabis when they cross the border.
“Facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in U.S. states where it is deemed legal or Canada may affect an individual’s admissibility to the U.S.,” Owen said.
“Our officers are not going to be asking everyone whether they have used marijuana, but if other questions lead there - or if there is a smell coming from the car, they might ask. If you lie about it, that’s fraud and misrepresentation, which carries a lifetime ban,” Owen added.
Cannabis for medical and recreational purposes is now legal throughout large portions of the US, but federal agencies continue to treat users like criminals, even in areas where it is legal. To make matters even more ridiculous, Canadian citizens can get in trouble for crossing the border with cannabis, even if they are crossing into a state where it is legal, like Washington.
US Customs officials have been enforcing this policy for years, as Jessica Goldstein learned in 2013. Goldstein was one of several Canadians to be banned from the US for admitting to Cannabis use at the border.
“I’m 30, a university student, and I cross the border weekly to buy my gas and groceries. I own a vacation property near Mount Baker. My father is American, I have family in California. I’ve spent thousands of dollars in the U.S. It doesn’t make any sense to me why they’d turn me away,” Goldstein told the Vancouver Sun.
“(The agent) interrogated me for about three hours and asked questions about my background, history and family and drug use. I was just totally honest. She asked how long I’d smoked pot for. I said about 10 years. Then she asked how many times I’d smoked pot in my life. I didn’t know the exact number; probably around 500 times. Then she gave me a paper saying I was inadmissible to the U.S. and that I can’t cross unless I get a waiver. They turned us around and we had to drive back,” Goldstein explained.
By anyone’s standards, Goldstein admitted to casual, non-problematic drug use, and she was treated like a criminal or cartel trafficker.
In order to get a waiver to be allowed to cross, Goldstein and the others who have been banned will have to pay hundreds of dollars for a chance to get a waiver, and it is very possible for them to get denied anyway. These agencies are extremely behind the times and out of touch when it comes to the lifestyles of most average people, and sadly, the feds don’t show any signs of lightening up their stance on the subject any time soon.