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Super Bowl Contest Winner from Victoria Denied Entry to U.S. - Minor Pot Possession Conviction from 1981


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People need to understand that even a decades old conviction (1981) for possession of a small amount of marijuana (2 grams) can have a huge impact on your ability to travel to the United States. Even if you are granted a suspended sentence, a discharge or even later pardoned the US would treat it as criminal conviction involving possession of a controlled substance and deny entry.

OTOH you can have a conviction for impaired driving and that would have no effect on your admissibility to the United States although anyone seeking to enter Canada would be criminally inadmissible under our immigration law.


However you may be eligible to apply in advance of your travel directly to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for a temporary waiver of inadmissibility. The waiver application process can be lengthy (up to a year) and there is a cost of US $585.00 per application regardless of the decision on the application. This is discretionary and the US treats all drug possession related cases seriously.


Myles Wilkinson of Victoria learned this lesson the hard way when he was denied entry after winning an all expense paid trip to the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

A Vancouver Island man who won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Super Bowl in New Orleans has been refused entry into the U.S. because of a marijuana possession conviction dating back to 1981.

Victoria resident Myles Wilkinson won the trip in a fantasy football league contest, competing against nearly four million other players for the chance to attend the National Football League championship, featuring the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

But when he got to Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Thursday, U.S. customs agents learned of a marijuana possession conviction in Vancouver in 1981 and told him he was not allowed to enter the country.

"I had two grams of cannabis. I paid a $50 fine," Wilkinson told CBC news.

Wilkinson said he was 19 when he was busted.

"I can't believe that this is happening, for something that happened 32 years ago."

Wilkinson's denial of entry into the U.S. is a common story, according to Dana Larsen, director of the Sensible B.C. campaign, a group advocating for the decriminalization of marijuana.

"There's hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have these criminal records for small amounts of cannabis and that results in a lifetime ban for accessing the U.S."

Now that two U.S. states — Washington and Colorado — have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, Larsen is pushing for a similar referendum in B.C.

"Being a cannabis user should not be a criminal offence. It should be regulated and taxed and controlled, but it should not be banned."

Larsen said RCMP have doubled the number of possession charges in B.C., laying about 3,800 charges for possession in 2011.

"That means every day 10 more British Columbians face the lifetime stigma of a possession charge."

Beer-maker Bud Light Canada, which sponsored the fantasy football contest that Wilkinson won, has invited him to attend its Super Bowl party at Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom as their guest Sunday afternoon.


BTW a referendum in BC as being advocated in the story above would have no effect because marijuana is under the federal criminal law power and the Harper government has been clear that it has no intention changing the law.

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This happened to a buddy that wanted to go to Disneyland in Florida a couple years ago. The US wouldn't let him fly there because of possession from 2000. So instead he went to Mexico..

Also, my Father isn't allowed in the US because of a false charge against him from the early 60's. He did travel there a few times before they cracked down in the late 90's and said he needed a pardon. It would have been $500 back then and he decided he didn't want to go to the States that bad.

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As silly as the war on drugs is, that's what happens when you don't follow the laws of a foreign country.

The US treats bringing even small amounts of drugs across the border far more harshly than simple possession within. That stands even today.

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Yes, however the attitudes are changing,


There are other states that are taking aim at legalization this year, and there's no indication to me that this course will change. Whether the fed legalizes or it's done on the state level, so long as you're not charged with possession like the 3,800 folks do in BC it's the end result that's important. I could not care less for Harper's policies toward drugs if provinces acted similarly to Colorado and Washington. As a nation, Canada is behind the US on this issue.

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Obama said the same thing about medical marijuana after the 2008 election but then saw organized crime moving in and moved strongly against the liberalization policies. In fact much more strongly than the the Dubya administration ever had done.

In 2008, then Senator Obama similarly said he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to circumvent state laws” on medical marijuana, and Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that this would be the federal policy following Obama’s election. But what actually followed was a widespread crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries led by U.S. Attorneys.


Provinces in Canada have no jurisdiction in this matter - it is a matter of federal jurisdiction.

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Neither do American states.

As for Obama's crackdown, there's more to it than simply enforcing a federal law. For example, take a look at the number of dispensaries that are currently operating (http://legalmarijuanadispensary.com/) - doesn't look like a federal crackdown on MMJ. Another indication is that they were largely focused in California and some in Colorado - there are 18 states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use. And the crackdowns came hard about two years ago, what has happened since?

In my opinion the crackdown wasn't so much on medical marijuana but on dealers who had either ties to crime, sold outside their licensed customers, and otherwise circumventing the state laws.

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