Still an issue ? Yes it is.
As the owner of an events company doing business with Christmas festivals in the U.S., Jonathan Houweling crosses the Peace Arch border in Surrey, B.C., dozens of times a year without issue.
But during his latest trip on Nov. 7, he was chosen for a random search, where a border agent found an old bottle of cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, in his centre console. He had tossed it there in 2019, he says, and completely forgot about it.
Now that lapse has resulted in a lifetime ban from entering the U.S.
As cross-border travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, the experience serves as a cautionary tale for Canadians travelling to the states, where the sale, possession and distribution of marijuana are illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
Despite cannabis being legal in Washington state, the borders are regulated federally, and federal laws supersede state laws.
“It’s embarrassing. It’s like a dark cloud,” said Houweling, who is from Langley, B.C., about 51 kilometres southeast of Vancouver.