As Vice tells it, music writer Alan Ranta was crossing from the not legal, but very cannabis-friendly province of British Columbia into the legalized state of Washington when border guards found a wallet labelled "weed money" in his belongings. After a prolonged interrogation, Ranta admitted that he had consumed cannabis in the past, an admission he assumed wasn't that serious given cannabis' more acceptable place in culture these days.
But despite a complete lack of physical evidence, he says border guards treated his admission of having consumed the Schedule 1 drug the same as they would treat a legal conviction for possession and hit him with a lifetime ban from entering the United States, or at least until he completes a costly waiver process. For border security purposes, he will be forever flagged as a criminal.
It begs the question of just how U.S. Border agents will treat Canadians if the northern country legalizes, as it plans to do. All Canadians of a certain age will then be able to legally possess and consume the drug in Canada, and thousands of people will even work in the legal cannabis industry. Could all of those people be flagged as criminals and barred from visiting Canada's closest ally and neighbor?