Article by Manisha Krishnan, Vice News
A few months ago, as I was approaching U.S. customs in Toronto Pearson airport, a customs officer recognized me as a VICE reporter.
“You do videos on marijuana and stuff right?” he continued, as he told a few of his colleagues that they could find said videos on YouTube. (It was a slow night.)
I smiled. But inside, I was freaking out a little, wondering if my association with weed—and the fact that I’ve consumed it—would cause problems. He was chill, and I got through no problem. But it turns out I had plenty of reason to be concerned.
Even though cannabis is legal in Canada and in several US states, it is still a Schedule 1 drug under federal American law, defined as a substance “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” If you’re convicted of a cannabis offence and you live outside the U.S., you likely won’t be allowed to enter the country. If you already live there but you’re not a citizen, you could be deported. But even admitting to past weed consumption can get a person barred for life. The same goes if you’re applying for a work visa or a green card, or if you’re a green card holder trying to obtain citizenship.