The Right to Privacy, Border Security and the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America

In my most recent article entitled, “Cannabis, Medical Marijuana and the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America”, I examined the ramifications of the use of cannabis whether recreationally or for medicinal purposes, now that the substance is legal in Canada and the implications of such use for the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America. As I explained, many Canadians seeking access to the U.S. may now be faced with an ethical, moral and legal dilemma, when they may be asked now among the usual perfunctory questions by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agent at a port of entry,” Have you ever used marijuana in the past for any purpose”? In conclusion of the article, I summarized the issue as follows:

“Some Canadians are under the mistaken belief that with the legalization of Cannabis in Canada, that past or continuing legitimate medical use by prescription and/or past or current recreational use will not have any adverse effect on their ability to enter the United States of America.  Although the majority of us will not be using Cannabis (marijuana) for medicinal or recreational purposes, now that it is legal in Canada, the same cannot be said for many of our friends or family members, particularly as availability increases and the stigma associated with it becomes more relaxed. For those who may be tempted to give it a “try”, it is all about the “risk” verses the “reward”, particularly for the frequent Canadian Visitor to the United States of America.

Until there is greater clarification by the Department of Homeland Security, many Canadian Visitors to the United States may be faced with an ethical, moral and legal dilemma, when asked the least intrusive question by the US CBP agent, “Do you have a prescription for medical marijuana? Or that penultimate question,” Have you ever used marijuana in the past for any purpose?”

In either case, be prepared to give an answer!”

These somewhat invasive questions raise a broader issue in relation to the competing interests of border security and the right to privacy and the impact these competing interests have on the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America. READ ON

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