Article by Peter Zimonjic, Julie Van Dusen, CBC News
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says Canadians slapped with a lifetime ban on entering the United States for telling a border guard they have recreationally smoked pot is a “ridiculous situation” that needs to be addressed.
“We obviously need to intensify our discussions with our border authorities in the United States, including the Department of Homeland Security,” Goodale told CBC’s Power & Politics host Rosemary Barton.
“This does seem to be a ludicrous situation, because, as you say, not only is the state of Washington, but three or four other jurisdictions in the United States have legalized marijuana,” he said.
Goodale was responding to the case of Matthew Harvey, who has been excluded from the U.S. for answering truthfully when the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service asked if he had ever smoked pot recreationally.
“They said that I was inadmissible because I admitted to smoking marijuana after the age of 18 and before I’d received my medical marijuana licence,” he said.
For the rest of his life, Harvey and other Canadians in his position must now apply for advance permission to enter the U.S. as a non-immigrant. The travel waiver, which costs $585 US ($752 Cdn), is granted on a discretionary basis, which means it may be good for a year, or two, or five, depending on the discretion of the approval officer.