By Jon Hiltz, Marijuana.com
Although pot is legal for recreational use in a handful of states, as well as half the country for medical marijuana, it oddly remains on the DEA’s list of Schedule 1 narcotics. Canada, by contrast, is legalizing recreational marijuana nationally in the spring of 2017.
A recent example of trouble at the border is the puzzling story of Matthew Harvey. In 2014, Mr. Harvey was stopped at the U.S. border in Washington State after the feds spotted a marijuana-related magazine in his car.
Harvey was detained for six hours and asked if he had ever smoked recreational marijuana. Like many Canadians would answer, Harvey said yes, and was then denied entry to the United States for the rest of his life.
The subject has also become a feast for local and national Canadian outlets including Canada’s most widely read newspaper, The Toronto Star, who wrote a scathing editorial condemning the actions of the U.S. border security, calling them “absurd.”
This issue will prove challenging for Canadians. As the timeline gets closer to the legalization in the great white north, the split in cannabis policy will continue to widen, and American border security looks to be a significant problem.
In an interview with the CBC, Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that the situation needs to be examined.
“We obviously need to intensify our discussions with our border authorities in the United States, including the Department of Homeland Security.” Goodale added that the situation of Mr. Harvey seems “ludicrous” noting that pot is legal in the state he was headed to anyway.
Goodale reminded Canadians that the U.S. can enforce whatever laws they see fit so we better be aware.
The U.S. Ambassador Bruce A. Heyman believes that there will be no problems between the U.S. and Canada when it comes to marijuana and border authorities. Harvey, The Toronto Star, and the Canadian Government seem to disagree with Heyman’s definition of a problem.
Matthew Harvey’s case will be looked into by the Canadian government and discussed at future bilateral meetings. In the meantime, Harvey wants to take his young daughter to Disneyland and cannot do so unless he applies for a travel waiver, which is costly and uncertain as he can still be denied entry.