A US lawyer has warned Canadians that they can be banned for life from entering the United States if they admit marijuana use at the border.
After Oct. 17, Canadians are likely to be questioned on cannabis use more than ever. Admitting marijuana use could lead to serious consequences.
Immigration lawyer, Len Saunders, explained that Canadians can receive a lifetime ban.
“It’s basically black and white – if you admit to a U.S. border officer at a U.S. port of entry that you’ve smoked marijuana in the past, whether it’s in Canada or the U.S., you will be barred entry for life to the United States.”
If banned, what to do?
For banned Canadians to be permitted entry again they need to apply for a temporary waiver. The waiver takes up to one year to process, but if granted, it would last for five years.
However, it needs to be renewed every five years, inclusive of fingerprinting and checking of criminal records.
Every temporary waiver has an admissibility cost of approximately $778 CAD.
“Each country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
Not obligated to answer
Saunders explained that Canadians are not obligated to answer the questions when asked.
“As a Canadian citizen at a U.S. point of entry, you have the right not to answer that question.”
The downside is that those who don’t answer the question may be prohibited from entering on that day.
While there are nine U.S. states where the recreational use of marijuana is legal, and 30 others already allow medical cannabis, weed on a federal level remains illegal in the United States.
In May, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale alongside other officials told Canadians that lying about marijuana use is considered to be the wrong response when entering the United States.
“You should always answer questions at the border truthfully and the best advice that one can give is that Canadians should be aware when they come to the border they are entering a country that has a different federal law,” Goodale said.
So far, Goodale is currently advising Canadians to stay under the radar.