The Canadian government is attempting to persuade the United States to make some adjustments to its “ludicrous” border policy that has prevented Canadian travelers who have admitted to using recreational marijuana at some point in their lives from crossing over into the Land of the Free.
During a recent interview, Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale expressed some concerns over a case in which a native of the northern nation was prohibited from entering the United States because he admitted to U.S. border agents that he had smoked pot.
Goodale told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp Thursday, that with recreational marijuana already legal in four states and the District of Columbia, not to mention the fact that it is primed to be brought out of the trenches of prohibitionary times in several other jurisdictions, later this fall, the current policy seems antiquated and in desperate need of a revision.
"We obviously need to intensify our discussions with our border authorities in the United States, including the Department of Homeland Security," Goodale said, according to Reuters. "This does seem to be a ludicrous situation," he added.
Although many people are unaware that such a policy even exists, a 2014 case involving British Columbia resident Matthew Harvey pulled this insanity into the media spotlight.
Reuters reports that a U.S. border agent stopped Harvey on his way into Washington, refusing to let him pass, and even going as far as to ban him from the United States, indefinitely, after he was forthright with an officer about his use of recreational marijuana.
Yet, with Canada moving to legalize marijuana in 2017 as well as more of the United States doing the same, Canadian officials are reportedly trying to negotiate a more relaxed policy with the U.S.
In the meantime, it is important for Canadian travelers to understand that it is not considered perjury to simply lie to a U.S. border agent about using recreational marijuana.
Attorney Len Saunders recently told VICE News that “you’re under no obligation to answer that question,” and that telling the truth will only set you up for a lifetime ban.
"Clients call me, they say they had to tell the truth, I couldn't lie,” Saunders said.
“What I'll say is, change the question: what if they asked about your sex life? Would you be so forthcoming?"