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Despite the fact that Canadians trying to cross the U.S. border are being asked if they have ever smoked cannabis — resulting in a lifetime travel ban for some Canadians — Prime Minister Trudeau has no plans to request changes to that policy.
During a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Canada’s leader said he will not address the issue with the U.S. government.
Currently, U.S. border guards can ask Canadians about their marijuana use and then deny that person entry for life based on their answers. This denial requires the traveler to apply for a waiver if they seek any future entry into the United States. The process is costly, time-consuming, and comes with no guarantee of success.
Trudeau has publicly admitted to smoking marijuana, but this admission has not interrupted the Prime Minister’s international travel.
“Canadians appreciate that we don’t let other countries or other leaders dictate who or how we let people into our country,” he said. “So I’m not going to tell Americans how to make decisions about who they let into their country either.”
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has gone on record calling the interrogation of Canadians at the U.S. border over pot use a “ridiculous situation.” Nevertheless, he emphasized that Canadians shouldn’t lie about using weed when asked by American authorities.
“If you’re crossing the border you’d be well advised to be forthright and honest in answering the questions of border officers whether you are moving from north to south or south to north,” said Goodale. “It is obviously critical to respect the border rules of the other country.”
Trudeau was questioned about Canadian’s privacy rights at the U.S. Border as well. This was after Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, Daniel Therrien, raised concerns that U.S. border guards can inspect phones as Canadians try to cross into the United States.
The Prime Minister skirted the issue by saying the Canadian government is constantly working with the United States on border patrol, as it is an essential part of the Canadian and U.S. economies.
“We’re always looking for ways to better protect Canadians and ensure both security and a smooth flow back-and-forth across the border,” said Trudeau. “Our economy, our country depends on it, and we are engaged on an ongoing basis in very detailed discussions with the Americans, every day, on how we improve the border.”
This article was originally published on Marijuana.com.
About Jon Hiltz: Jonathan Hiltz has been a journalist, a TV producer and marijuana advocate for over sixteen years. He has a wife, two young children and lives in the Toronto area.