A couple months ago, Brian Doherty noted that Canada has begun turning away American visitors with records of minor offenses such as marijuana possession. Now it looks like the U.S. is retaliating and, as usual, taking the anti-drug idiocy up another notch. Over at Alternet, Linda Solomon describes the predicament of Andrew Feldmar, a Canadian psychotherapist who 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 the '60s. In Canada and England.
A Department of Homeland Security official explains that Feldmar was barred from entry not because of what he wrote but because of what he did: "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." Even if it occurred four decades ago in other countries and never resulted in a criminal charge. Feldmar can seek a waiver, but the process costs several thousand dollars and has to be repeated every year.
I was only kidding when I said blocking Feldmar's visit was the U.S. response to Canada's border policy. But maybe both countries can agree to stop barring harmless people for ridiculous reasons. If Canada adopted the standard applied to Feldmar, turning back anyone who has ever used illegal drugs, half the U.S. population would be prohibited from crossing the border.
[Thanks to Amy Alkon for the tip.]