The Mayor of Estevan, Sask. is concerned that people trying to cross the border are being turned away for saying they have smoked marijuana in the past.
“In a lot of cases people are being asked if they have smoked pot at the border and part of the problem is the people that have admitted to smoking and in some cases are being turned away, said Estevan Mayor Roy Ludwig.
The mayor said he knows of a few cases already where people have been turned back and refused entry to the United States.
“I know a couple of cases where this has happened and one in particular where an individual had his tickets and was planning a trip and when he got to the border and was asked if he ever smoked pot, he said yes 30-years-ago thinking it was amusing,” Ludwig added.
“He was then taken in, had his vehicle searched and was turned away.”
Ludwig said that residents are being asked strict questions about marijuana use at the North Portal border crossing since marijuana was legalized in Canada on October 17.
“I guess the question is and I plan on talking to Mr. Goodale, perhaps the federal government could be looking at this because it will be a big issue for people who have smoked pot and would like to go to the states – what are they going to have to do? Are they going to have to lie? I hope it doesn’t come to that,” Ludwig said.
Currently, the City of Estevan is not warning residents because they were unsure of how big of a situation it would be, but it is becoming a concerning issue for the city.
Earlier this month Canadians were warned that they may be denied entry to the United States due to marijuana use because it is still illegal in the U.S.
“With the federal government bringing in the legislation to make pot legal, this is one of the side issues that will have to be looked at and hopefully dealt with at the border – how do you communicate and make things right for people that want to go down there,” Ludwig said.
“As long as they are not under the influence should they be penalized for something that is legal in their country, should they be penalized for something they did 30 years ago and maybe even haven’t smoked it since? It seems a little harsh.”
Estevan has received two marijuana shop licenses and plans on opening up two stores, but they will initially start with one store and sort through the issues first before they open up the second shop in the city.