Last Updated on October 13, 2016
Canada is set to take issue with a U.S. policy that means Canadians admitting to using marijuana when trying to cross the border can face an indefinite ban.
Anyone admitting to ‘committing a crime involving moral turpitude’, regardless of conviction, can be prevented from crossing the border and issued with a ban.
Pot use fits this description and this means there are significant consequences if you confess historic marijuana use to a border agent.
Quick Facts: The Canada-US Border
Longest international border in world at 8,891km, 2,475km of which is with Alaska.
400,000 people and $2.4 billion in trade cross the border each day.
Canada and U.S. are second and fourth largest countries in the world by area.
Canadian provinces and territories with U.S. borders: Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick.
US states with Canadian borders: Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine.
Several Canadians have been issued with bans, with their only recourse being an appeals process which could result in a travel waiver, although accompanying costs are high.
Now Ralph Goodale, the federal government public safety minister with responsibility for the Canada Border Services Agency, says he will seek discussions on the topic with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, describing it as a ‘ludicrous situation’ in a television interview.
It is a particularly difficult law to comprehend, given that recreational marijuana is now legal in four U.S. states, including Washington, which directly borders British Columbia. Nine more states will consider a similar move soon.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he will support efforts to legalize the drug.
Meanwhile, the CBSA recently advised Americans to leave their guns at home when crossing into Canada.
A new awareness campaign is designed to remind Americans that gun laws are different in Canada than in the United States.
“We welcome our U.S. neighbours in Canada — to make your journey more pleasant, travel light and always remember to declare all goods with you,” a CBSA statement said in August.
“It is strongly recommended that you not carry your firearm when travelling to Canada and/or transiting through Canada to reach another U.S. destination.
“However, should you choose to travel with your firearms, you must declare all firearms in your possession at the first Canadian designated port of entry.”
The Canadian federal government recently agreed an information-sharing deal with the U.S.
Under the legislation, a log will be created of every traveller who leaves the country, primarily to close a security gap that has seen Canadians leave the country to join terrorist groups, untracked.
The deal will also allow better monitoring of the amount of time Canadians are spending south of the border. The current yearly cap is 120 days, or 182 with special permission.
Those exceeding the yearly limit face being considered a U.S. resident, and having to pay the resultant taxes. They could also lose their Canadian residency and access to health care, or be deemed an illegal resident in the U.S., which could result in being banned from the country for up to 10 years.
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