Admitting pot use at U.S. border may get you banned

By Jeff Nagel – Surrey North Delta Leader

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Marijuana users may want to be careful what questions they answer at the U.S. border, according to a lawyer in Blaine, Wash.

Pot-smoking B.C. residents are increasingly being banned from entering the U.S. as American border guards try to stem the flow of Canadian marijuana tourists in the wake of Washington State’s weedlegalization vote late last year.

Blaine lawyer Len Saunders said he’s seeing more cases of B.C. residents being permanently denied entry after trying to carry pot across the border, thinking it’s no longer an issue.

Because marijuana is now legal to possess under state law, Canadians caught bringing less than an ounce across aren’t charged, as they were in the past.

“I’m seeing no prosecutions – zero since November,” Saunders said. “But there’s more confusion.”

What happens now, he said, is pot-packing Canucks have their stash confiscated and are then interrogated under oath about their drug-using habits.

Admit that you’ve ever smoked or used marijuana in your life, he said, and you can be deemed inadmissable to the U.S. because you’ve confessed to a crime of moral turpitude.

“The key is to not admit that you’ve ever used it,” Saunders said, stressing he isn’t counselling anyone to lie under oath.

 

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