I have only traveled to Canada once in my life. It was in the late 1980’s, and things were much different back then. I specifically remember my dad using my ID that I was given from a karate instructor to get me across the border. At the time I didn’t think anything of it. Now, post September 11th, that seems almost crazy to think about, even with me being a child at the time.
Getting across the border, both into Canada and especially back into the United States from Canada, is much more difficult now. I have had many friends travel across the border, just to almost not get back into the United States, even though they were born and raised in the US. One of my friends, who has never consumed marijuana in his life, was detained for six hours at the border while border agents virtually dismantled his car looking for hidden marijuana.
But all of my friends and family eventually made it across the border. I’m told it’s even harder for Canadian citizens to get across the border, and in the case of at least one guy, got banned from the United States for life after admitting to being a marijuana user prior to becoming a legal medical marijuana patient in Canada. The man’s name is Matthew Harvey, and it’s my understanding that he didn’t have any marijuana on him when he tried to enter the United States, he simply answered ‘yes’ to a question that was asked by border patrol agents. Per CBC News:
Harvey has not been excluded for having a criminal record, or for trying to smuggle drugs into the U.S. He’s being punished for providing a seemingly harmless answer to a question posed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service.
“They said that I was inadmissible because I admitted to smoking marijuana after the age of 18 and before I’d received my medical marijuana licence,” he said.
“Of course I’d smoked marijuana, Canada didn’t even have a program back then. I smoked marijuana recreationally. I guess I should have basically lied because now I am inadmissible apparently,” he added.
Technically Matthew Harvey can apply for a ‘travel waiver’ that will give him permission to enter the United States, but only for a limited time. There is no guarantee that Mr. Harvey will be approved for such a waiver, as it’s entirely up to the discretion of the approving officer. The fact that someone gets banned from the United States for consuming a plant that is 114 safer than alcohol is beyond me. Do people get banned from the United States for previously using pharmaceutical drugs? What about sniffing markers? What about consuming energy drinks to the point of hospitalization? Why is marijuana being singled out when it’s safer than most groceries?