Canada Better Positioned to Press U.S. on Border Issues After Pot Legalization

Article by Kyle Duggan, iPolitics

Canada better positioned to press U.S. on border issues after pot legalization By Kyle Duggan. Canadian border guards are silhouetted as they replace each other at an inspection booth at the Douglas border crossing on the Canada-USA border in Surrey, B.C., on August 20, 2009. A U.S. border officer who commits an on-duty crime in Canada would generally face justice in an American court under a new binational agreement. But if the crime is murder, terrorism or sexual assault, a trial could take place in Canada, according to the agreement made public this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Canadian government will be in a better position to push for the U.S. not to ban entry to Canadian citizens who admit to smoking cannabis when questioned by border guards after recreational consumption becomes legal in Canada, according to an immigration lawyer.

But in the meantime, he said Canadians undergoing preclearance at Canadian airports will be in a “weaker position” than those driving to the states because they can be compelled to answer questions at preclearance, and can’t just turn around and go home.

Lorne Waldman, an immigration lawyer, told senators at the national security and defence committee Monday the Canadian government would be more persuasive on cannabis-related border-crossing issues with the U.S. after weed becomes legal.

He said that’s because Canada will then have “moral authority” to assert claims about Canadians being banned over consuming a legal substance.

Waldman said it is “much more difficult now to make that approach,” but the government still needs to actively petition the U.S. that it is not “appropriate” to ban Canadians for life over legal pot consumption.

“It’s something [the government] can and should do, and I hope they will do it before the law passes,” he said.

That’s because, even though the U.S. doesn’t officially seek out pot smokers to ban in their questioning, it’s clear that there are a few officials legally entitled to ask the question that do.

Read the full article here.

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