September 14th, 2017

Liberals must secure border crossing agreement with U.S. in light of cannabis legalization: NDP

OTTAWA – The NDP is calling on the federal Liberal government to begin talks with US officials to secure an agreement which will ensure free travel over the border following the legalization of cannabis in Canada.

“No Canadian should be turned away from the border for participating in activities which are legal in this country,” said Don Davies, NDP Health Critic and member of the committee currently studying the government’s bill to legalize cannabis by July 2018. “Frankly, I’m baffled that the Liberals haven’t had the foresight to begin dealing with this now.”

Canadians are routinely questioned about their use of cannabis when crossing into the United States. There are many reports of Canadians being turned away from border crossings after admitting to smoking pot even if they were never convicted of a crime.

“Witnesses testifying on this bill have been unanimous that without an agreement with the US, Canadians will be put in a terrible position of having to either lie to border officials or be denied entry,” said Davies. “The negative consequences of this will span from ruining family vacations to a serious barrier for trade and business over the border.”

The NDP supports full legalization of cannabis though is critical of the Liberals’ refusal to immediately halt criminal charges for pot possession until the legislation passes. Additionally the NDP has criticized the government for refusing to include edible forms of cannabis in their legislation and having no plan to pardon past convictions of simple possession.