Canada Legalized Weed, So Guess Who's Gonna Be A Huge Narc About It, Man?
The Great White North went and became the first country in the world to legalize retail marijuana sales -- the law goes into effect October 15 -- and now the US is reacting like the narrow-minded churchy people in Footloose who want to ban weed so it won't lead to dancing (we haven't seen the movie, but we think that's what it's about). Politico reports that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plans to slap anyone in the legal weed business -- from company owners to anyone who has ever smoked pot -- with a lifetime ban on entering the USA, because don't they know marijuana is BAD and ILLEGAL here? Jeff Sessions has a War On Legal Weed to fight, after all.
After all, weed may be legal in Canada, but it isn't in the US, so CBP intends to treat anyone who works in the Canadian cannabis industry as some kind of drug kingpin -- or at least a trafficker -- if they want to travel to the USA, according to CBP executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations Todd Owen. While border agents won't ask every single traveler from Canada for a follicle sample, or even question them about whether they're all potted up on Alberta VO-5, they'll be on the lookout for telltale signs, like giggling at everything, surprising recoveries from glaucoma, or other giveaways:
"Our officers are not going to be asking everyone whether they have used marijuana, but if other questions lead there — or if there is a smell coming from the car, they might ask," Owen said. Likewise, marijuana residue, which can linger for weeks inside a car, could be detected by CBP inspection dogs and lead to further questioning, he noted. If asked about past drug use, travelers should not lie, he said. "If you lie about it, that's fraud and misrepresentation, which carries a lifetime ban," Owen said.
Just imagine it: an entire nation of hall monitors.
Oh, but it gets even more Officer Unfriendly:
If a traveler admits to past use of any illegal drugs, including marijuana, the traveler will be found to be inadmissible into the United States. CBP typically will allow them the opportunity to "voluntary withdraw" from the border — or face an "expedited removal." Whether or not the traveler enters the U.S., a record will be kept by CBP and that traveler will not be allowed to return to the U.S. The traveler will have the opportunity to apply for a waiver from a lifetime ban, which costs U.S. $585 and requires several months to process. The waivers are issued at the discretion of CBP.
Needless to say, anyone who actually works in the industry will automatically be refused entry, so to get around the common border agent questions about what they do for a living, pot industry folks may do well to acquire a plausible side company, like maybe a hot tub shop. Smelling like chlorine might help with the dogs, maybe. Even investors who never touch the product would be subject to lifetime bans, because just like terrorism financiers, they're just DRUG FINANCIERS once they leave Beaverlandia.
"We don't recognize that as a legal business," Owen said. Already, marijuana investors from other countries, such as Israel, have been denied entry into the U.S., he noted. CBP did not specify any minimum level of investment that could trigger a ban.
We can only imagine what might happen to, say, bankers or mutual fund investors who are even more remotely connected but still have some financial stake in legal marijuana, although we have a feeling Rich Fuckwad Privilege may help.
Not surprisingly, actual marijuana use by ordinary Canadians could cause people in trusted-traveler programs to be booted as a danger to law-abiding USA-icans. Canadian nurses and truck drivers, beware: No more expedited border crossings for you if your car stereo is playing Peter Tosh or Cypress Hill. You could literally find yourself One Toke Over The Line, FOREVER.
Marketwatch notes that after the Politico story ran yesterday, shares in Canadian weed corporations dipped noticeably, but fairly quickly regained value as Canadian weed entrepreneurs mellowed out and remembered the US hardly has much to offer anymore.
For Canadians hoping to reduce their chances of getting nabbed at the border, as your immigration attorney, we advise you not to rent a very fast car with no top. Especially not a red one.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.