What can Canadians do when crossing U.S. border after pot legalization?

Should Canadians tell the truth, lie or refuse to answer to a U.S. officer on weed when crossing the border post-legalization?

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale alongside other officials are repeatedly telling Canadians that lying about marijuana use is considered to be the wrong response, Global News reported on Thursday.

“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.

While there are nine U.S. states where the recreational use of marijuana is legal, and 29 others already allow medical cannabis, weed on a federal level remains illegal in the United States.

So far, Goodale is currently advising Canadians to stay under the radar.

He added:

“So you should not engage in behavior that would provoke or prompt an American border officer to be suspicious of your behavior.”

The minister made his advice clear after he was asked by members of the House of Commons public safety committee on Thursday whether Canada has secured any deal with the Americans not to dismiss Canadians, who admit to smoking marijuana once it is legal this summer.

What do lawyers say

Meanwhile, Len Saunders, an immigration lawyer in Washington State, said admitting the truth might not be the best option

“That is bad advice by Canadian government officials, and they should know better,” Saunders told Global News.

“Honestly, I don’t think that to this day the Canadian government fully understands the ramifications. I really, really don’t think they understand it.”

Scott Railton, another Washington-based immigration lawyer, said while marijuana use “wouldn’t be against the law under a foreign jurisdiction,” but it is considered an illicit drug in the United States and admitting its use is not the right decision.

“That would be the concern,” he added.

The Upper House or the Senate in Canada is currently reviewing the Cannabis Act with June 7 as its deadline.

If amended, the bill will be sent back to the House of Commons, if not, then it will go for royal assent for it to be finally passed as law.