Canadian woman barred from U.S. after admitting marijuana use

Vancouver Sun

Student, who does not have a criminal record, baffled after being ‘totally honest’ about her past

A White Rock woman en route to Washington state Saturday morning says she was turned back at the Douglas border crossing and barred from the U.S. because she admitted smoking marijuana several days earlier.


“I think it makes no sense,” said Jessica Goldstein, who maintains she was interrogated for several hours for simply telling the truth.


“I’m 30, a university student, and I cross the border weekly to buy my gas and groceries. I own a vacation property near Mount Baker. My father is American, I have family in California. I’ve spent thousands of dollars in the U.S. It doesn’t make any sense to me why they’d turn me away.”


Goldstein said her treatment is especially galling because voters in Washington and Colorado in November voted to make their states the first in the U.S. to permit the use of recreational marijuana.


Goldstein said she and two friends were headed to the Dave Matthews concert at the Gorge Amphitheatre. While attempting to cross the border, the U.S. customs agent asked her if she’d ever used marijuana.


She replied that she’d used marijuana the weekend before, maintaining to The Vancouver Sun that she’d been asked the same question in the past and allowed through after answering that she had smoked pot.


“I’m with two friends, (and) about an hour later, they question us one at a time. (The agent) interrogated me for about three hours and asked questions about my background, history and family and drug use. I was just totally honest.

“She asked how long I’d smoked pot for. I said about 10 years.


“Then she asked how many times I’d smoked pot in the my life. I didn’t know the exact number; probably around 500 times.


“Then she gave me a paper saying I was inadmissible to the U.S. and that I can’t cross unless I get a waiver. They turned us around and we had to drive back.”


According to Goldstein’s statement at the border crossing, which she provided to The Sun, she admitted to the agent that she’d smoked marijuana about a week ago and “casually on weekends.”


She said in her statement that she had also used ecstasy once and mushrooms twice about 12 or 13 years ago.


Goldstein told The Sun that she travels to the U.S. regularly for gas and groceries and that acquiring a waiver would take about six months and cost $600 to apply.


“I have no criminal record, no charges whatsoever,” she added. “I’ve never been arrested, and no illegal activities.”

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