(Photo credit Cannabis Culture/Flicker)

(Photo credit Cannabis Culture/Flicker)

Council warned about potential problems at US border

US border officials can and do ask Canadians if they have ever used marijuana.

Creston Town Council has received a heads-up about some important border implications for Canadians who have used marijuana or will use it when it becomes legal.

The Honourable Mobina Jaffer, a British Columbia representative in the Canadian Senate, has written to government leaders around the province, warning of potential dangers for her constituents.

“…our constituents will soon be faced with a series of issues at Canada’s border with the United States that could have them barred from crossing the border for life,” Jaffer wrote.

“With the upcoming passage of Bill C-45 and the legalization of recreational cannabis, many Canadians could find themselves at odds with American law enforcement as they cross the border. In these cases, they could face heavy penalties—including permanent barring from the country.”

While Jaffer is connecting her concerns for Canadian border-crossers to Bill C-45, the situation has existed for years. US border officials can and do ask Canadians if they have ever used marijuana. A “yes” answer typically means a refusal of entry. If a “no” answer is later discovered to be a lie, the person can be charged with providing false information and also can be refused entry for life.

“Disclosing your cannabis usage could be enough to have you barred from the US for life,” she said. “However, lying to border officials almost always ends with a permanent ineligibility if it is discovered, and sometimes even leads to fraud charges! Therefore, the best option for Canadians who have consumed cannabis is to simply withdraw from questioning. While this will likely have them turned away from the border, this is far better than the possible alternative of permanent ineligibility.”

The situation becomes even more complex when one considers that, while the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in some states, Washington, for example, it remains illegal under US federal laws. British Columbians should be wary of this after recreational use is legalized in Canada because driving across the border into Washington does not mean that they are free from the American federal statutes. And Canadians would be unwise to attempt to transport marijuana across the border in either direction.

The entire content of Jaffer’s letter can be found on the Town’s creston.bc web site under “Regular Meeting Agendas”.

In other May 22 regular Town Council meeting news:

• Town Manager Lou Verala told Council that the work plan for the WorkSafeBC Notices of Compliance will be completed by the June 4 deadline.

• Staff will report back on how the Town’s Community Message Board might be made available to community groups.

• No serious objections were heard in a Development Variance Permit public hearing for the property at 105 Devon Street.

Creston Valley Advance