Crossing The Line

Crossing The Line
Posted by CN Staff on June 03, 2002 at 08:27:44 PT
By Jackie Cade
Source: Monday Magazine 
For most of us, summer means time to travel. But if you’re one of the 1.5 million Canadians who have a criminal record for simple possession of marijuana, you might want to reconsider if you’ve booked a vacation in the United States. “Post 9-11, more people are being questioned, and therefore more people are being turned away for these types of grounds,” says Greg Samuels, a U.S. immigration lawyer based in Vancouver. There’s a lot of stress at border crossings, and U.S. officials are likely to exercise their considerable discretion against anyone who’s a problem. “It’s much more common now.” 
According to government manuals, U.S. immigration officers are supposed to deny entry to anyone who’s ever violated “any law or regulation relating to a controlled substance.” (They can also refuse anyone convicted of any crime involving “moral turpitude,” which can include anything from murder to sodomy.) But it goes further. Even if your criminal record’s clean, just admitting that you once smoked pot is enough to keep you out—as gold-medal snowboarder Ross Rebagliati learned in February, when U.S. border cops refused to let him travel to Salt Lake City as part of Whistler’s Olympic bid committee. Rebagliati eventually got in, but had to submit fingerprints, a doctor’s letter certifying he was drug-free, and $195 U.S. for a temporary “waiver” of his offence, plus have a lawyer plead his case to immigration officers. He was lucky: Canadians with criminal records for minor drug offences usually wait up to 10 months to hear whether they’re entitled to a waiver, which is only valid for one year. And if they ever apply to live or work in the States, they’re often turned down flat. Michael Jacobsen, the Vancouver lawyer who represented Rebagliati, says he has one client who can’t get into the U.S., even though he’s married to an American, because he has two minor pot convictions. “There can be some really serious impact on their future mobility.” But if you’ve got a record and you’re still determined to travel south, there’s always a way. “I go where they don’t do a lot of computer work,” says one B.C. drug reform activist, who’s made it across the border several times recently to attend conferences. Avoid airplanes, trains and ferries where your name ends up on passenger lists, he advises, and never travel by bus, because customs officers treat bus passengers like dirt. Instead, he suggests, you’re best bet is to cross in a recent-model car, owned and driven by somebody with a clean record. To Americans, an automobile is the surest sign of respectability—and you don’t need a lawyer to tell you that. Complete Title: Crossing The Line: Travelling Stateside? Think Twice If You’ve Smoked Pot Source: Monday Magazine (CN BC)Author: Jackie CadePublished: Issue 22 Vol 28, May 30 - June 5, 2002 Copyright: 2002 Monday PublicationsContact: editorial monday.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Canadian Links Cameras Too Close for Some in on Border Pot Smugglers a Very Porous Northern Border
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Comment #10 posted by qqqq on June 03, 2002 at 15:30:14 PT
...ya gotta just aint no fun protestin' nowdays..... Gone are the days when we could peacefully assemble,and yell,,and be beligerant,and air our dissatisfactions,and grievances in public...,,, ya know,,back in the old days,,a few cops might show up to keep order around the perimeters of a protest,or demonstration,,,,but if you try to assemble in public nowdays,,,you will be surrounded by a Darth Vader SWAT team,and ordered to disperse,as they pepper your ass with rubber beanbag aint pretty.....It really takes all the fun and glory of a revolution when some neo-natzi police state cop bats you with a nite-stick,while varnishing your eyes with pepper spray.....several years later,,when your sore ass is finally released from jail due to overcrowding,, maybe you could buy a lot in Palestine,and build the bunker of your dreams.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on June 03, 2002 at 15:08:33 PT
idbsne1 and dddd
We could have a revolution. I hope the protests accomplish good things and get press coverage. You can push and push and push people only so long until they say enough. That's what seems to be happening. 
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Comment #8 posted by dimebag on June 03, 2002 at 15:07:01 PT
I want out.
Fuck U.S.A, I want out.I love the country, and its ideas but I fear the Government is giving its self too much power. The System of Checks and Balances just isnt working. We need real people in office. Not politicians that were raised to be corrupt and to go where the money trail is the longest.I fear for our lives, not just the mortality but the morality. I can almost see it now. "U.S citizens wont be citizens any more. Only people who register for the Military can be citizens. And the Citizens will be patrolling every street corner, making sure we arent out side at night. We will be In a POLICE STATE !! FEAR YOUR GOVERNMENT, Think Your self, question authority.Dimebag.
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Comment #7 posted by Nuevo Mexican on June 03, 2002 at 15:06:06 PT
The Stars deem it so!
Revolution is here, war is over, ding dong the coverups' gone! Here is confirmation of the cycle of revolution, is back at our door again! The U.S. was born of revolution, the founding fathers saw to it that it is our inalienable right to overthrow the government once the corruption is so massive it can no longer be hidden. Back to the future: The U.S. Horoscope has the moon at 28 degrees Aquarius, the sign of revolution, and in the U.S. chart for 2oo2 (called a progression) the Sun is at 28 degrees! Forming a 'new' moon so to speak, giving this country the oppurtunity to be reborn, on loftier and more humanistic terms, through revolution (radical change, sudden, abrupt, and MASSIVE)!
It is no coincidence that todays breaking news is about the CIAs complicity in 911, connect the dots and you've got bushieboy in handcuffs. To Make everything more surreal, The planet of Revolution, Uranus, ruler of Aquarius, is at....THE 28TH DEGREE! Get ready for more explosive, Uranian type of news! God is Awesome! (And an atheist as well, and the best Astrologer I've met so far).
When the 'spirit of all there is' sees his name used by the forces of evil, a handwashing is always in order, and God has nothing to do with the church, which is a not so subtle tool of government. 
Turn on Msnbc and see the CIA getting bashed by their own supporters in the media! And know that the time has come and it is now! Celebrate! Don't mourn, organize! Throw a Tea Party! When the media asks what the celebrating is for, just tell them the revolution is taking place, where have they been!
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Comment #6 posted by dddd on June 03, 2002 at 14:42:57 PT
"I feel there is a revolution coming......" too,,,and I am all ready to lead the Revolution!!!!!Power to The People!........well,, at least I like to think that,,,I would gladly lead a revolution,,,,,,But.....unfortunately,,revolutions are now illegal in the us empire... .. why, even suggesting a revoution is quite risky nowdays...anyone who tries to do a revolution is a terrorist... Revolutions are no longer allowed,,,even protests are frowned upon!......
...If you have a video camera,,bring it with you to your local federal/dea building.on the 6th....dddd
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Comment #5 posted by idbsne1 on June 03, 2002 at 14:05:37 PT
I am with FoM and dddd.....
I feel there is a revolution coming... a come to blows...something big is going to happen....these bastards' evil ways are showing:'According to government manuals, U.S. immigration officers are supposed to deny entry to anyone who’s ever violated “any law or regulation relating to a controlled substance.”'So I can be a murderer or a rapist and get in?F*cking idiots.....idbsne1KJA
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Comment #4 posted by krutch on June 03, 2002 at 12:36:08 PT:
Several US presidents....
Including JFK, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, could not visit the United States if they were Canadians and answered the question honestly(fat chance, at least in Dubya's case). This policy encourages people to lie to customs officials. The 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with drugs. The whole thing is insane.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 03, 2002 at 12:19:08 PT
What about Paul McCartney?
He doesn't have problems coming and going from the U.S.
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Comment #2 posted by Naaps on June 03, 2002 at 12:12:15 PT
Thought on Crossing the Line
When Ross Rebagliati was refused into the States, I contemplated being honest with the US Government, informing them in writing that indeed I’ve used Cannabis. I floated the idea with my friends, finding that while most of them were not allowed to enter the states due to past encounters with the law, everyone said giving unnecessary information to the government was foolhardy - if not stupid.Presumably, I’m eligible to enter the United States. However, I was arrested, fingerprinted and photographed more than a decade ago for cannabis possession, but beat the charge in court, obtaining an absolute discharge. At the time, my lawyer, George Wool assured me that I could still travel to the States. In fact, I did cross the border several times afterwards. However, at the Richmond Senate hearings, the BC Civil Liberties Association fellow mentioned that Canadians arrested, even if all charges are dropped will appear on the computer screens of American Customs because the Canadian Criminal Records are accessible by the US Authorities.Further, I have taken the liberty of writing Congressman Bob Barr for his unconscionable stand in preventing the ballots for the D.C. medical marijuana initiative from being counted. It strikes me that such action places one on a watch list deep in the bowels of government, though this may be a paranoid supposition.Presently, I’ve no interest in crossing the line. I admire and enjoy many things American, but going through customs scares me. Maybe the dog will sit down next to me, smelling cannabis residues days old. Then, getting called into a separate office, waiting for a couple burly guys with big guns to question you. Maybe a strip search will be required. Then, you could be turned away, threatened with a fine if you attempt to cross again without first registrating with the FBI. It’s unsavory. Meanwhile, my son wants to visit Disneyland. It would be a terrible if after paying for everything, one were unable to travel with the family.     
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Comment #1 posted by krutch on June 03, 2002 at 11:54:18 PT:
Stupid Regulations
If nobody with a record for drugs can come to the US from Canada how does Tommy Chong get in? If the person who is crossing the border is not holding, who cares if he has a record. This is stupid red tape that actually hinders the fight against terrorism. Furthermore it hurts the US economy. Imagine the tourism dollars lost by banning anyone in Canada who has smoked pot from entering the country. If I was a Canadian, I would not even consider visiting the US after hearing this nonsense.News Flash for the border patrol: Pot smoking Canadians did not blow up the WTC. Stop wasting our tax money hassling people who have nothing to do with terrorism. Catch some criminals for a change.
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