Canadians must trust authorities at the U.S. border. The parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Safety says that Canadians consuming weed legally, in the privacy of their homes, should “be honest and tell the truth” next year when they arrive at the U.S. border, despite the strong risk of authorities turning them away.
Mark Holland, in an interview with Vassy Kapelos of The West Block, said that officials in Canada have been liaising with their counterparts in the United States about the forthcoming legalization of marijuana along the northern border. He noted, “Remember that the United States has many states that have legalized marijuana, so they are dealing with this in a domestic context, as well.”
He emphasized that, “Ultimately, the decision that they make is their decision as a foreign jurisdiction. You always have to be honest and tell the truth at the border.” Holland said during a June trip to Ottawa that John F. Kelly, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, was adamant that his government not be responsible for making border crossings an even more cumbersome burden.
Holland reiterated, “We have every reason to expect that that is the spirit in which this is going to continue, and that we are going to see a thinning, not a thickening, of our border.” Despite these optimisms, many Canadians are understandably concerned about their personal liberties and general right to privacy when traveling back and forth to the United States.
There is already much ado about U.S. Customers and Border Protection officers freely examining mobile phones, computers, and other electronic devices at will. United States law even permits them to demand passwords. The federal commissioner voiced major concerns about it just last week. In contrast, Canada’s agency for border control has policies in place to limit searches.
Canadian officers may only search travelers when they have reasonable grounds to do so, such as retrieving information about counterfeit cash from a suspect’s mobile phone. However, Holland would not commit when asked whether Canada wants inclusion under the American Judicial Redress Act.
Currently, the act provides European citizens a means of redress if officials invade their privacy at the border. “I think it is fair to say we have a discussion on a wide array of issues,” Holland said during the interview. “Anything that impedes travel or trade is a major concern for us.”