ONTD Political

Super Bowl contest winner denied entry to U.S.

7:30 pm - 02/03/2013
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.


I hope everyone in the US sleeps better tonight.
wikilobbying 4th-Feb-2013 04:24 am (UTC)
because of a marijuana possession conviction dating back to 1981

peace_piper 4th-Feb-2013 06:20 am (UTC)
Perfect gift use is perfect.
234_am 4th-Feb-2013 04:27 am (UTC)
oh! that sucks SO BAD.

not only on a personal level for the guy, but on a bigger larger scale.
i live in BC and i know tons of people who have convictions. my mother lives in the USA and i'm petrified, as a marijuana smoker, of getting 'busted'. it won't make much of a difference to me in many areas of my life, but going to visit my mom? who lives in washington state?
i would be livid if i was turned away, NGL.

i don't bring anything illegal with me when i go.
i vacuum my car, and wash all articles of clothing beforehand and i don't drive stoned.
marijuana laws are so ridiculous :/
seishin 4th-Feb-2013 04:46 am (UTC)
I vacuum my car, and wash all articles of clothing beforehand and i don't drive stoned.

Vacuuming the car I get. But washing all articles of clothing (assuming so they don't smell)? Can they do anything if your clothes smell of pot, but you dont have anything on you?
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hinoema 4th-Feb-2013 05:00 am (UTC)
This calls for the "how to win friends" tag. Way to go, U.S.
shanny_w 4th-Feb-2013 06:41 am (UTC)
Not cool US. My cousin tried to enter through a B.C boarder and was taken in a room and interrogated because she had a record... for driving without a license lol Well, I mean that's what she told us. Maybe she was busted for weed once.

Edited at 2013-02-04 06:43 am (UTC)
romp 4th-Feb-2013 05:22 pm (UTC)
I've been stopped for up to 8 hours (re immigration) and seen people turned away for what I'm pretty sure were misdemeanours. So it certainly might have been that.
abiding 4th-Feb-2013 06:41 am (UTC)
Oh man, that sucks. I would understand a lifetime ban for something more serious, but marijuana possession? C'mon now, USA.

Edited at 2013-02-04 06:41 am (UTC)
moonshaz 4th-Feb-2013 07:07 am (UTC)
As an American, I will freely admit that our government suffers from a serious case of stupid when it comes to pot.

Alcohol is, of course, legal under our laws, because it is perfectly safe and innocuous and has NEVER caused anyone to do anything harmful to anyone else. Marijuana, however, is the spawn of Satan and must be treated as the seriously dangerous and scary drug that it is. #heavy sarcasm

It's just plain....stupid. :/
tabaqui 4th-Feb-2013 12:10 pm (UTC)
For fuck's sake.
nicosian 4th-Feb-2013 12:26 pm (UTC)
I worked at Vancouver Airport in security with US CUstoms/imm, and yeah, this happens. The officers there thought it every bit as ludicrous as we canadians.
illusivevenstar 4th-Feb-2013 12:34 pm (UTC)
That sucks.

First world problems, etc.
soleiltropiques 4th-Feb-2013 04:12 pm (UTC)
I will never understand this.

The fact that drug abuse and other drug related problems are not treated as the publich health problems that they are (i.e. rather than crimes) will never make sense to me.

I think other countries could learn a thing or two from Portugal:

"Portugal, (...) in 2001 became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine".

(From here: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html)

Smoking marijuana does have health consequences. It is not benign (e.g. research suggests that it probably has a detrimental effect on the lungs similar to tobacco smoke, potential long-term effects on learning and memory). OTOH, I can't for the life of me fathom what putting people who smoke cannabis in prison accomplishes. (The answer is not much.)

soleiltropiques 4th-Feb-2013 04:15 pm (UTC)
Effects of marijuana on the brain:

Health Effects of Recreational Marijuana:

(Caveat: Although I certainly haven't seen all the evidence, I'm not sure things are quite as cut and dry as the above references, especially the first one, suggest.)
the_siobhan 4th-Feb-2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
It's not just drugs. If you have anything on your record, no matter how minor, you have to apply for a "pardon" to get into the US. It costs $500+ and last 1 year to a lifetime at the discretion of the issuing officer. Since it's a cash cow, they always go with the year expiry.

I know a few people who have gone through this. You can get a minor charge removed from your record by the Canadian government, and every other country in the world accepts it except for the US.
romp 4th-Feb-2013 05:18 pm (UTC)
Good to know. I have friends in the US who can't visit.

It gets absurd. I posted a story above about a man who wrote an paper about the us of LSD years ago and admitted using it almost 40 years ago...so he can't visit family and friends in the US. Last I'd heard, he'd reached a dead-end.
betray802 4th-Feb-2013 06:04 pm (UTC)
And now I'm sitting here thinking about the sheer volume of American booze and tobacco products that were smuggled into Canada by my family, as gifts for our Quebecois kinfolk. Sometimes the trunk looked like half a damn liquor store!

Mom used to tell my sister and I to pretend to be asleep as we pulled up to the crossing. A woman with two young kids, both asleep? What's threatening about that, right?

Holy Christ, if we'd ever gotten caught.
paksenarrion2 5th-Feb-2013 04:09 am (UTC)

My Dad used to smuggle fireworks back into NY from Quebec. He used my sister and I for the same nefarious purpose. Way to go Dad.
dinkydo 4th-Feb-2013 06:32 pm (UTC)
I couldn't get logged into LJ to save my life last night to comment.

While this law is supremely stupid in it's length, Canada has a similar law on it's books for simple DWIs and DUIs.
furrygreen 4th-Feb-2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
While this is asinine, a lot of countries do this. The US isn't the alone boogeyman in this. Canada will bars entry in certain drug/ alcohol convictions too. Japan won't let you visit if you have any drug conviction, regardless of who you are.

*shrug* I mean, it's sad. I feel bad for the guy. I can't even imagine what that poor man felt. If I were in his place, I'd probably start crying. XD But considering how insane this country is, it doesn't surprise me.
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