When Canada tells you that you’re being uncool, then you know your country has a problem. That’s exactly what happened last Friday when a Canadian government official called out the U.S. for its lame-as-hell policy of not letting in Canadians if they’ve used cannabis in the past.
U.S. border agents caught some flack in 2014 after they prohibited Matthew Harvey, one of our neighbors to the north, from entering the country because Harvey told them that he had used cannabis without a medical license in the past. The British Columbian was actually banned for life for this. The border agents didn’t have reason to believe Harvey had been convicted, or even charged, with any crime. Just for having used marijuana illicitly, the man was permanently denied access to our country.
This is what got Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale fired up when he spoke on the CBC show Power & Politics last week. “We obviously need to intensify our discussions with our border authorities in the United States, including the Department of Homeland Security,” Goodale said.
The irony of a country that is legalizing medical and recreational marijuana faster than you can say “blueberry pancakes” is not lost on the officia. “This does seem to be a ludicrous situation,” he said, “because, as you say, not only is the state of Washington, but three or four other jurisdictions in the United States have legalized marijuana.”
A Canadian who is flagged by the border guards for having taken a hit of illegal weed have to really want it to get into the land of the free. They first have to file for a $600 U.S. government travel waiver in order to even be considered for entry into the country, according to High Times. And even then they might not get in. Also, that waiver fee is supposed to increase to $1,000 by the end of the year, so unless these cheeba-cheefing Canucks are really jonesing to be in a country with inadequate health care and a circus for a presidential election, they’ll probably just stay at home.
For his part, Goodale is trying to reverse the bullshittery of the country he’s sandwiched between. “Every country has a sovereign right to establish the terms and conditions upon which you can cross their border and enter their country,” he said, “but there’s certain ironies about the current American position that we will certainly be very vociferous in putting before them.”
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