Marijuana.com writer Jon Hiltz looks at instances of the US banning tourists – including a member of the Dopamine team – that admit to having smoked weed. Part 1 of this series looks at the story of a Chilean tourist who had her phone searched without permission, which uncovered photos taken inside a legal dispensary. Read Part 2 and Part 3.
As the cannabis laws in America continue their constant ebb and flow of legality, many marijuana-lovers – and even those who have simply tried pot – wanting to enter the US are finding it hard to do so.
Currently people from all over the world, including those from Canada (where this writer is from), are being heavily interrogated by border officials. Travellers are getting turned away at the border and even barred for entering the States for life, just because they’ve owned up to using cannabis in the past.
On hearing this news, one would think that there are only a few cases of an overzealous border guard coming down on a handful of unlucky individuals. Unfortunately, however, this has become a regular and disturbing reality.
Recently, SCPR Take Two reported on a story where a tourist coming from Santiago, Chile was thoroughly questioned by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at LAX about her past trips to the United States. CBP searched her bags and accessed her cell phone without asking for permission. Their search uncovered photos taken inside a legal, adult-use dispensary in Colorado.
The border guard then asked her if she had ever used cannabis, and not thinking anything of the question, she answered that she did try some while in Colorado. He then proceeded to ask her if she had ever tried other drugs such as cocaine, acid or heroin, to which she replied no.
The traveller was then held in a room for fifteen hours before being denied entry into the US indefinitely.
Canada has had a legal medical marijuana system in place since 2001. It was the first country in the world to do so and since then the system has become significantly more robust. Further to that point, cannabis use in Canada has historically been more socially acceptable than other places around the world.
This has prompted border guards to increasingly ask various Canadians if they have ever used cannabis, to the detriment of many looking to enter the “land of liberty”.