The US-Canada border has become increasingly tense, and this means that people trying to get back and forth have to be more diligent than ever before.
Consider the experience of John, a Canadian who was in his Feathercraft sea kayak cruising Sidney Island near the Vancouver mainland, looking across to occupied territory: the United States.
He had a few grams of White Widow in a ziplock with a waterproof lighter, a glass pipe, and two stones. His greatest pleasure in life is to ocean kayak all weekend, camp on beaches, catch fish, get high.
When the US military patrol boat pushed waves at him and almost tipped him into the frigid water, he knew what to do: he dropped his stone-laden bag of weed into the depths. It sank.
Three US Coast Guardsmen yelled at him from their boat. They wanted to search his kayak. They wanted identification. He told them “Fuck off,” saying he was still in Canadian waters. They threatened to take “decisive action.”
John said if they wanted to create an international incident, go ahead, make his day. John’s father is a lawyer; he’d be happy to sue the arrogant bastards. Who do they think they are, these Gestapo, harassing kayakers at sea? He was damned sick of being jacked up by US military patrols looking for BC bud smugglers.
The boat moved away. One Guardsman made an obscene hand gesture at John, who was already turning his kayak west, cursing the loss of his buds.
That’s the US-Canadian border these days, folks. Not yet as bad as the US-Mexican border, where barbed-wire fences, vigilantes, and thousands of border patrol agents await starving Hispanics in the desert. The northern border is getting worse; that’s harsh for people wanting to enter Canada, and vice versa. Lots of people are getting turned back trying to go north. Lots of people going to the US from Canada getting searched, turned back, busted.
The rest of this article is a quick guide to getting you in and out of Canada safely. It’s most relevant for Americans trying to enter Canada, but it’ll be helpful no matter where you’re from or where you’re going, because borders are Babylon.
- If you’ve ever been arrested or detained by police, even when you were a juvenile, if you have a police record or conviction record of any kind- shoplifting, drunk driving, public sex, cannabis, etc.- get the record expunged, overturned, pardoned, removed at the local level. Then, ask the agency or court that had jurisdiction over your conviction to tell the FBI to remove the entire record from its criminal database- the National Crime Information Computer (NCIC).
- After you’ve done everything possible to sanitize your record so that no arrests, detentions or convictions are listed, contact the FBI to request a copy of your file. You’ll be required to get a set of your fingerprints made on a paper card and send them to an FBI office in West Virginia. Two months later, you’ll have a paper print-out that contains any info the FBI has on you. Even if you’ve never been detained, questioned, arrested or otherwise hassled by police at any time in your life, it’s still a good idea to get the FBI report if you intend to travel across any international border. By getting the report, you could find out that they’ve made a mistake and listed you as a criminal or detainee even though you never had any police involvement. If they haven’t made a mistake, and/or if you’ve sanitized your records properly to remove as much of your actual history as possible, then having an accurate FBI report, especially one that shows zero criminal history, will reduce your problems at the Canadian border. The Canadians have a database-sharing agreement with the US that can contain incorrect information that gets you banned from Canada if you can’t show you have a clean record. Having a paper copy of your FBI file, even if the file says that there is no record of you, can save you a lot of trouble.
- Always travel with a valid passport.
- If you can’t totally erase your entire criminal record from the FBI’s files, contact Canadian immigration attorney Alex Stojicevic. For a fee, he represents cannabis refugees, temporary visitors, and other innocent people. Tell him your travel timelines and send him a copy of your criminal record, so he can tell you if your past is going to cause you a problem getting into Canada.
- If your past contains a crime serious enough to give Canadian border guards a reason to turn you away at the border (virtually any crime can give them cause to turn you away), ask Stojicevic about applying for “rehabilitation.” This means you pay lawyer money and bureaucrat money to convince Canadian border agencies that your past crime(s) should not bar you from Canada. You might have to pay a Canadian immigration attorney like Stojicevic to meet you at the border to argue with authorities about letting you across. You might even have to pay for a formal immigration hearing. If you have any kind of criminal record, even a misdemeanor, and if you want to easily cross the Canadian-US border, you are probably going to need lawyer intervention. Pay Stojicevic his fee, and ask him to make sure you can get across before you make expensive plans to visit Canada.
- Whether you have or have not ever had any problems with police, whether or not you have a clean FBI print-out, when you are crossing borders, try hard to look like a very “normal” person. Cut your hair. Shave. Remove pierced facial jewelry. Wear non-hemp, conventional clothes. Be conservative in demeanor and speech. Pretend you’re nothing but a straight conformist who obeys all laws.
- Border agents have the right to ask you lots of personal questions. Be able to tell them what hotel you’re staying in, that you’re going fishing, boating, shopping, sightseeing, hiking, etc. Don’t tell them you’re entering Canada so you can buy wicked seeds from Marc Emery and smoke kickass BC bud on the beach. Don’t stutter and stammer. Don’t act nervous. Don’t break down crying. Make sure your passport is current, and in your name. Make sure you look and act like a regular tourist.
- NEVER carry contraband across any border. Don’t carry a copy of Cannabis Culture or Ed’s Big Book of Buds across any border. Not even the Dutch border.
- People entering the US are more likely to be detained and interrogated than people entering Canada, although Canadian border agents are becoming assholes just like the American border agents have been for a long time. If you are detained and sent to an ugly little room for specialized interrogation, keep your mouth shut and realize calmly that you have just stepped into a surreal shit storm. Your interrogators are fascist tools of the police state. They are the kind of people who like to lord power over others. They are control freaks. They are “little Eichmanns.” You have no rights in a border zone. They’ll search you, put you back on an airplane, rip your car to pieces, ruin your vacation, finger your asshole, and detain you for many hours. If you’re a girl, they can look “you know where.” They do whatever they want. Be minimally cooperative without giving them any information; get away from them as soon as legally possible. Everything you say can and will be used against you. You have the right to remain silent. Do so. Concentrate on your breathing, on being calm and quiet, and on realizing that you are can be free again soon if you handle yourself with courage and maturity. Be a Jedi warrior. Don’t let border agents hurt your spirit or ruin your freedom.
- Remember: you know nothing about marijuana or other illegal drugs. Absolutely nothing. Marc Emery? Never heard of the bloke and you don’t know what Vansterdam is. Tokers’ Bowl? What’s that? You’re just a drug-free, law-abiding tourist.
- Going to American after visiting Vansterdam? Before you leave, vacuum and deodorize everything you own. Wash your clothes. Empty and cleanse your pockets, backpack, car, suitcase, purse, wallet, RV, stash bag, brain. A stray leaf causes grief.
- Does all this sound scary? It is. The governments of the world are Babylon. But it’s worth being free. It’s worth escaping the US to visit Vansterdam. Don’t let border hassles keep you a prisoner inside your home country. Don’t be paralyzed by fear. Follow the abovementioned tips for safe border crossings, and overgrow the government beast. If you’re still not sure what do to, read this article again carefully, consult an attorney, and use the information below:
For more information:
Maynard & Stojicevic
Immigration and Citizenship Lawyers
303 – 1120 Hamilton Street
Canada V6B 2S2
Telephone: (604) 632-0188
Fax: (604) 632-0182
Gordon Maynard: [email protected]
Alex Stojicevic: [email protected]
(Tell ’em Cannabis Culture sent ya!)
- Here’s who to contact to find out how to get a copy of your criminal record and to clear your criminal record at the federal level:
National Crime Information Center
Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306
Hours of Service: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Telephone: (304) 625-2000
What does “little Eichmann” mean? Check out Ward Churchill: