Another Berlin Wall

  Another Berlin Wall

Posted by CN Staff on January 16, 2003 at 18:23:56 PT
By Pete Brady 
Source: Cannabis Culture 

I've been contacted by an increasing number of people who asked me to investigate conditions at the US-Canadian border.Many of my correspondents told me they had been turned away and/or harassed at land and air ports of entry going in either direction. These actions have ruined vacations, business trips, family reunions, weddings, and other important activities, and have cost people much money and heartache.
Canadians heading south into the US, especially young women, are increasingly being detained, interrogated, strip-searched and otherwise humiliated by US officials. Vehicles are being dismantled by US agents as they search for drugs, weapons and other contraband; in one case reported to us, a vehicle's braking system was damaged by the US search, which resulted in a serious traffic accident.It used to be that people heading north into Canada could count on friendly, welcoming, efficient treatment by Canadian authorities. All that has changed since 9-11, in part because the US government says that Canada is a haven for terrorists due to its allegedly lax immigration policies.The US has also long criticized Canada for its refusal to wage an all-out war against marijuana. For several years, US drug agents have alleged that billions of dollars worth of Canadian cannabis, primarily grown in British Columbia, was flooding into America. Now that the Canadian judicial system and some elected officials are openly suggesting that Canada liberalize its marijuana laws, US officials are routinely attempting to interfere in Canada's internal affairs by telling the Canadian government not to loosen its pot laws.US actions have poisoned the relationship it has with its northern neighbor. Canada has responded by instituting strict, 100% enforcement of already-existing Canadian immigration restrictions that disallow anyone with any type of criminal record, even if just a misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction, from entering Canada.Due to the politically-charged nature of the situation, Canadian officials contacted by CC refused to talk on the record or even to comment on some of the more troublesome aspects of the border situation.Canadian officials did confirm that travel to Canada is not as easy as it used to be, and that zero tolerance immigration enforcement will become the rule rather than the exception at all Canadian ports of entry."The rules that say a person cannot enter Canada with any type of misdemeanor or felony have been in place a long time, but they were not enforced uniformly," explained a spokeswoman at the Canadian embassy in Washington, DC. "But after 9-11, Canada was accused of inadvertently assisting terrorists because of its immigration policies, and our citizens found themselves subjected to a great deal of scrutiny as they attempted to cross the border into the US. It is unfortunate to describe it this way, but it appears that our policymakers decided that we would treat American citizens as badly as our citizens were being treated. Now, if you have a criminal record of any kind, it is likely you will be caught due to an extensive computerized information-sharing agreement between the two governments, and you will be refused entry."But it is not just Canadian border agents who are now running records checks and turning away US citizens trying to enter Canada. In many cases, US officials are harassing US citizens trying to re-enter their own home country, conducting warrantless searches of people, their possessions, and their vehicles with no respect for due process or common civility.Getting into and out of America is becoming increasingly difficult, prompting one correspondent to liken the situation to that which was experienced by Jews in Germany during Hitler's early reign, and to the situation that hampered travel by residents of East and West Germany before the collapse of the Berlin Wall.The implications of the new North American Berlin Wall should be obvious to anybody involved with cannabis, but let me spell it out explicitly for those who haven't yet gotten the point: the days of easy travel to and from Canada are over, and the days of being able to easily get across the border with contraband are also over.Of course, a few people with criminal records (or cannabis, or both) are still probably getting across the borders at border checkpoints, due to the realities of border traffic and lack of 100% zero tolerance enforcement at some ports of entry.On the other hand, until the citizens of Canada and the US create governments that do not put walls between people based on whether they have been convicted of marijuana crimes, the artificial, arbitrary and counterproductive barrier that now exists at the border between the US and Canada will continue to harm people, nations, and human dignity.Note: Canadian-US border problems increase.Newshawk: anonSource: Cannabis Culture Author: Pete BradyPublished: January 16, 2003Copyright: 2003 Cannabis CultureContact: ccmag Website: DL: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Over the Northern Border Marijuana Trade, U.S. Drug Czar Urges Warns Against Liberalizing Laws on Pot 

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Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 17, 2003 at 13:19:55 PT

Question for The GCW
I am editing the chat transcripts from Dr. Russo's chat we had and are you the one that went by The? Thanks!
CannabisNews Chat
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on January 17, 2003 at 07:32:45 PT

The drug war is founded on many 
Berlin Walls.This is another one that is crumbling.Latin America rejecting US drug war says no to US crop-spraying, Bolivia says yes to defiant native leader.
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Comment #2 posted by Kegan on January 17, 2003 at 03:31:50 PT

Land of the Free
Land of the Free?Home of the Brave? (insert howls of derisive and sarcastic laughter here)
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Comment #1 posted by p4me on January 16, 2003 at 21:25:05 PT

Legal cannabis possession comes to Belgium introduces its websites with this paragraph-Welcome to Expatica!
You have reached the #1 English-language news & information source for expatriates living in, working in or moving to the Netherlands (Holland), Germany, France or Belgium. Expatica publishes nine websites plus a printed HR newsletter and four, country-oriented Survival GuidesThere is one article about addressing the narcotourist in an article titled "Antwerp's war on drugs" -,181,&item_id=25910The big news is from Belgium in an article titled "Drugs law to be passed before poll"-
14 January 2003 BRUSSELS — Belgium's cannabis law will be put into effect before the 18 May general election, according to Public Health Minister Jef Tavernier. 
Under the law, the use of cannabis by adults will no longer be prosecuted if it does not cause inconvenience to others. The drugs law is based on an instruction by former Health Minister Magda Aelvoet. The law was approved two years ago by the government. 
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