As I demonstrated in my first article, Canadians will be putting themselves at significant risk every time they pass over our southern border after the legalization of recreational cannabis on October 17th. If you aren’t careful, you could easily find yourself at odds with American federal drug laws and face consequences as severe as being banned from entering the US for life!
As a result, many Canadians are now asking: “What can I do to avoid being banned?” The answer is actually quite simple- you need to prepare yourself before leaving your home.
When crossing the border, it’s important to remember that you likely won’t run into any questions about cannabis in the first place! US border agents usually only ask questions when they want to determine whether or not you have done anything illegal- so the most important thing is to not give these agents any reason to suspect anything.
Failing to do so can have serious consequences, as psychotherapist Andrew Feldmar learned when he was banned from the US in 2007. When Feldmar tried to cross the border, American border officials used Google to search his name and discovered that he had consumed it as part of his studies on the therapeutic effects of drug consumption..
The next day, Feldmar was barred from the US for life.
To avoid experiencing Feldmar’s situation, it is vital to remember that anything you post online is not private. US border officials can Google your name and go through social media to find information about you. If you want to avoid trouble at the border, you should delete anything any posts about cannabis before leaving home.
In fact, to be safe, it is best to ensure that there is not even anything to find on your devices like your phone or laptop. In the past, US border officials can and have demanded that Canadians give up their devices and passwords without any kind of probable cause, and the same could easily happen to you.
If they find anything proving drug use, you could be banned for life. While it may be inconvenient to delete it in the short term, these precautions are far better than the alternative of having to apply for an expensive waiver every time you wish to enter the US.
With that said, while these steps will seriously decrease your odds of running into the questions that can have you barred for life, they are not perfect. American border agents may still ask you about cannabis for any number of reasons, ranging from zealousness to profiling.
In cases like these, it is important to know your rights and know how to respond if you are asked questions about cannabis at the border. Please look forward to my next article, where I will provide an in-depth guide about how you should respond to these questions!