Alan Ranta, a music writer from Vancouver, had a hard time in the country this week. He was driving to Washington State to visit a music festival. At the border between the U.S. and Canada, he was asked if he has ever smoked marijuana.
He said yes, which got him handcuffed. He was told to immediately turn around and go home.
He was on the As It Happens show in Vancouver, and he said:
“I came up, and because I was going to a music festival, I had a bunch of really colourful outfits and what-not to wear there. It’s a music festival and I like having fun. But I guess it raised the ire of the border guy. He didn’t like how colourful it was — he mentioned that in an offhand comment. But ultimately, he only asked me two questions: ‘where are you going?’ and ‘are you hiding anybody in the back?'”
About the arrest, he said:
“I got led into a very small, concrete-box of a room — with just a bench and a toilet. And handcuffed. And then interrogated about my pot use.”
Ranta did not have anything on him. They found a money purse that said “weed money,” but the pouch didn’t have any weed or money in it.
Ranta can’t go into the United States until he pays a $589 fine. Even with that, he will still be considered a criminal in this country.
This is not an isolated incident, many Canadians have been turned away at the border because of this.
Apparently, admitting to using Schedule I drugs is considered the same as doing them when it comes to immigration. They treat the admission of smoking it like an actual conviction.
Lawyer Len Saunders has seen dozens of these cases, He said:
“What’s shitty is it’s almost like entrapment—you don’t need to admit it. You’re under no obligation to answer that question. Clients call me, they say they had to tell the truth, I couldn’t lie. What I’ll say is, change the question: What if they asked about your sex life? Would you be so forthcoming?”
We just need to legalize it. Here is a news clip of the marijuana laws in Canada:
Featured Image; Screenshot Via YouTube Video.