While the Obama administration is allowing hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minors into the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security has its eyes on the real threat: Canadian potheads.
Canadian tourists looking to buy weed in the U.S. will not only be turned away at the border, but could be banned from the country for life, Global News reports.
Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Canada, so industrious potheads have been watching Washington’s recent legalization with keen interest. Washington shares a border with the Canadian province British Columbia–Canada’s most pro-legalization province. (RELATED: Marijuana Stores To Finally Open In Washington)
While non-citizens purchasing marijuana in Washington is not itself illegal, DHS isn’t comfortable with these pot pilgrimages, saying “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].”
“You do not need a conviction for marijuana possession or use to be deemed inadmissible to the U.S.,” Canadian-American immigration lawyer Len Saunders told the News. “The mere admission that you’ve used marijuana or that you plan to use it, or that you plan to purchase it, it’s the admission itself which could deem you inadmissible for life.”
In March of this year, a Canadian citizen traveling to a Washington music festival made the mistake of admitting she’d smoked pot the previous week and got herself permanently banned from the U.S.
Tuesday was the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales in Washington, which handed out its first retail licenses the day before. Possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal consumption has been legal in Washington since Initiative 502 was passed by popular vote in 2012.
This is the latest in a series of conflicts between federal agencies and state authorities over marijuana legalization in the U.S., which is still a Schedule I Controlled Substance under federal law. Schedule I substances are not only illegal for recreational use, but are deemed to have “no currently accepted medical use in the United States.” Other Schedule I substances include heroin and LSD. (RELATED: Congress Can Stop Federal Medical Marijuana Raids)