U.S. Blocks Canadian's Super Bowl Trip Over a 32-Year-Old Pot Bust

Myles Wilkinson won a fantasy football league contest in which the grand prize was an all-expense-paid trip to this week's Super Bowl in New Orleans. But when Wilkinson, who lives in Victoria, British Columbia, tried to board his flight to the United States at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, U.S. customs agents stopped him, citing his 1981 conviction for marijuana possession. Wilkinson's offense involved about two grams of pot and resulted in a $50 fine, but now he is forever barred from entering the United States. Dana Larsen, a marijuana reform activist, told CBC News such experiences are common. About 3,800 people are arrested for marijuana possession in British Columbia each year, Larsen said, so "every day 10 more British Columbians face the lifetime stigma of a possession charge."

Drug users can be stopped at the border even if they were never convicted. Andrew Feldmar, a Canadian psychotherapist, has been prevented from visiting his children, friends, and colleagues in the U.S. because a border agent's Web search turned up a journal article in which Feldmar discussed his experiences with LSD and other psychedelics in Canada and England during the 1960s. Here is how a Department of Homeland Security official explained the underlying policy: "Anyone who is determined to be a drug abuser or user is inadmissible. A crime involving moral turpitude is inadmissible, and one of those areas is a violation of controlled substances [law]." Under that policy, even a Canadian who smoked pot in Denver or Seattle, where marijuana consumption is legal, would be barred from ever visiting the United States again if that fact came to the attention of U.S. officials.

The Canadian government also bars people based on minor offenses committed long ago, including drug possession, but it seems to require an actual conviction. If it copied the U.S, policy of banning anyone who has ever used an illegal drug, whether or not they got caught, half of all Americans—including our last three presidents—would be prohibited from entering Canada.

Addendum: Charles Oliver noted Wilkinson's aborted trip this morning.

[Thanks to Jamie Aron for the tip.]

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  • Pro Libertate||

    Why not shoot the drug-dealer out of hand? Not like he's an American or anything. Wasn't that the point of tricking him into thinking he'd won a ticket to the Super Bowl in the first place?

  • Professional Target||

    Well, we all know what a danger those pot fiends are. Especially if "do a little blow" too.

    Why do I suddenly find myself thinking of the President?

  • NeonCat||

    Because we should all think of him, and pray for him (in a non-denominational way), constantly.

    It will make us better people, though we can never be good enough to actually deserve him.

  • ||

    The Canadian government also bars people based on minor offenses committed long ago, including drug possession

    ...and DUIs. This stupidity goes both ways. And they seem to want to continuously one-up each other. Shockingly, petty scum gravitate to a position where they can massively effect people's ability to travel over the most trivial of reasons.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Yeah, one of my friends couldn't go to Canada with us because she got a DUI, back when it was still a DWI, 30+ years ago.

  • Tim||

    Deja Vu all over again.

  • fish||

    WE ARE A NATION OF COMPLETE DICKHEADS!

  • Tim||

    On the contrary, you have to pass a rigorous background check and extensive training to become a dickhead.

  • fish||

    Nonsense...it would appear that it's every American birthright! We keep electing representatives who pass these kinds of laws! How much more evidence is necessary?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Did I not post this in the AM Links?

  • Enough About Palin||

    If you prick us do we not bleed?

  • Andrew S.||

    You think this is idiotic? We've done worse.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articl.....5314.shtml

    tl;dr version: Canadian psychiatrist tries to come to the US. Border agent googles his name for some absurd reason, finds an academic paper by the guy where he details his own LSD use 30 years prior, and denies him entry on that basis.

  • Almanian.||

    PWND!

  • Swamp Think||

    Oh! So that's why the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, etc. never get to play cconcerts here.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Anyone who is determined to be a drug abuser or user is inadmissible. A crime involving moral turpitude is inadmissible, and one of those areas is a violation of controlled substances [law]."

    But they made J Edgar Hoover head of the FBI.

  • Acosmist||

    Seahawks jersey? Yeah stay out of my country.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Wouldn't it be delicious if the US customs people would ban Obama from coming back in from a foreign junket because he admitted to drug use?

    First president-in-exile! Does Air Force One have mid-air refueling capability?

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    this country sucks

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    of course, country doesn't suck just the people who make the rules. Those people really suck.

  • MSimon||

    Medical Marijuana prohibition is a crime against humanity and a violation of the religious precept – heal the sick.

    Pass it on.

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