They say honesty is the best policy. Meet Matthew Harvey who follows that policy. A stand-up guy from Canada who just wanted to take his 3-year-old daughter, Lika, to Disneyland in California. But fulfilling her dream won't be easy for him. Why? Just because he was honest about him consuming marijuana (albeit legally)
A couple of years ago, while crossing the border from Canada into the United States, he was asked if he had ever consumed marijuana after the age of 18. And the then 37-year-old honest man said yes.
He was detained for 6 hours, questioned and banned for life from entering the United States by the US Customs & Border Protection Service.
"They said that I was inadmissible because I admitted to smoking marijuana after the age of 18 and before I'd received my medical marijuana licence."
And by the way, the man has a legal smoking licence in Canada, but he was questioned because a customs officer found a marijuana-related magazine in his car.
"Of course I'd smoked marijuana, Canada didn't even have a program back then. I smoked marijuana recreationally. I guess I should have basically lied because now I am inadmissible apparently," said Matthew to CBS News.
Not only is he a legal marijuana user in his country, he was also driving to a state (Seattle, Washington) where the drug is legal for medical & recreational use. But since he told the truth, he has been banned. The only way forward for him is to apply for a travel waiver which costs around $600 and once it expires, he may have to pay around $930 as the price of said waiver will be increased later this year.
The much adored and respected PM of Canada, Justin Trudeau, had announced that a legislation legalizing the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes will be passed by 2017. But as far as the US is concerned, 25 states have allowed the use of marijuana but for medicinal purposes only, while four allow use for recreation as well.
So the problem remains. And it's not like a 1-month-cleanse will help your case. Getting a visa for the US is already difficult, but this seems like another hurdle some might find difficult overcoming.
As for Harvey, who is now having a tough time making his daughter's dream come true, told CBS News,"We should raise awareness that if you are crossing over the border, not to admit to using recreational marijuana. Just deny, deny, deny!"