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Marijuana is getting Canadians banned from the US for life

Canadians cannot admit to smoking marijuana, otherwise they risk being denied and possible banned from entering the US. (AP)

Ridiculous. Ludicrous. Nuts. Those are just a few words used to describe what is happening at the United States-Canadian border in Washington state. The issue: marijuana.

KIRO Radio’s Tom and Curley are going with “ridiculous.”

How do we know marijuana isn’t helpful if we can’t test it?

“It’s so ridiculous,” Tom said. “Especially since British Columbia is considering making it legal. Which means practically every Canadian in British Columbia will not be allowed to come into the United States for doing something legally in their own country.”

“Isn’t this nuts?” Curley responded. “What’s ridiculous is they ask if you have ever smoked it.”

Marijuana border control

The CBC reports the story of one Canadian, Matthew Harvey. The man made one passing comment to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service.

“They asked me if I smoked (marijuana) recreationally in the past,” Harvey told CBC. “And I said, ‘Hasn’t everybody.’ And that was it. They denied me entry.”

Harvey is now banned from the United States for life. If he wants to make a trip, he will have to pay $585 in US currency to apply for a waiver, granted on a discretionary basis.

Canadian officials have now taken up the matter and are pressing it with their counterparts across the US border. Their goal is to find a way to let Canadians come through, even if they smoke marijuana years ago.

The problem with marijuana border control has a unique angle in Washington where the weed has been made legal for recreational use. The border guards, however, are federal employees. Marijuana is still illegal under federal rules.

“Unfortunately, our government did just reiterate that (it considers marijuana) as dangerous as heroin – a schedule one drug,” Tom said. “It’s ridiculous and it will eventually be overturned.”

“We are being a little bit unfair because we are so progressive in this state,” he added. “But I would guess most of the country – the Midwest and the South – are dead set against it. But I think it’s a bit ridiculous to impose something as long as a lifetime ban for it.”

The other issue, the gap between Washington’s marijuana laws and the federal law becomes even murkier considering that British Columbia, just over the border, is also considering legalizing marijuana for recreational use. That will take the border issue to a whole new level — lying, according to Curley. People will start their trip into the United States with a lie.

“I believe Canadians on a whole are better people than Americans. That’s my experience. They are kinder. I like the way their voice goes up at the end,” Curley said. “And they tend to be more honest. We, however, are going to force them to lie to us. Welcome to America – lie to us.”

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