Windsor

'Canadians need to be better educated' says Windsor immigration lawyer about pot at the border

"It's an unfortunate set of circumstances, but it's too common," said immigration lawyer Eddie Kadri. "There are no relief mechanisms like we have here in Canada."

'Under no circumstances should you ever lie at the border'

Windsor lawyer Eddie Kadri said he's received more calls about Canadians' experiences at the border. (Vincent Robinet/CBC)

A 40-year old conviction kept Bev Camp from entering the United States for a trip to Florida.

Camp was refused crossing at the Windsor-Detroit border.

He had to cancel his Feb. 9 trip, thanks to a pot possession conviction from 1976. 

One Windsor lawyer tells us that's a common occurrence — and isn't likely to change in the near future.

"It's an unfortunate set of circumstances, but it's too common," said immigration lawyer Eddie Kadri. "There are no relief mechanisms like we have here in Canada."

While you can petition for an American waiver after being pardoned for a conviction in Canada, there's no guarantee. 

"The number of Canadians stating what their experience was crossing the border, the number of calls has gone up," said Kadri. "Canadians need to understand the difference between state law and federal law."

Even though many states, including Michigan, are moving towards legalization of marijuana, the borders are governed by federal law. Under federal law, marijuana is illegal. 

"Canadians need to be better educated," said Kadri. Despite the increase in calls, Kadri said there's no official data on if more Canadians are being turned away at the border due to pot convictions. 

A sign near Gretna, Man., warns travellers not to cross into the U.S. with cannabis. Shot Oct. 16, 2018. (Rémi Authier/CBC)

"The same questions you're asked are pretty much the same," Kadri said about crossing the border. However, any suspicion will result in a second set of questions, which is when marijuana questions may come up. 

"If you can't answer questions truthfully or honestly, you may want to reconsider travelling to the United States," said Kadri. 

"Under no circumstances should you ever lie at the border."

With files from Arms Bumanlag and Windsor Morning

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