COLUMN: Sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation

COLUMN: Sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation

A tale of two holidays: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

I think I need a vacation from my vacation.

Last week, I made a gruelling trek from Smithers to Lethbridge Alta. for my son’s bachelor weekend. I decided I would drive it in one shot in order to spend more time with him and save some money. It was a full 16 hours door-to-door, the longest I can ever remember driving by myself at one time.

After 99 holes of golf over four days and another 16 hours on the road coming back to Smithers on Labour Day, dragging my butt out of bed to go back to work Tuesday morning was challenging.

Nevertheless, it was a great time and I played my best golf of the season, so far. Loved those wide open southern Alberta courses and gave me a greater appreciation for just how tight the Smithers course is.

LAST TIME: More rigorous vetting of tax exemptions should be on the table

The drive actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I had great weather and it wasn’t marred (much) by construction delays or tourists stopping on the side of the Icefields Parkway to stupidly feed the bears despite all the signs warning against it.

All in all, it was rather uneventful, although tiring.

The same cannot be said for another gentleman who probably needs a vacation from his vacation. This recent traveller called me up from Kitwanga just before I left with a much more harrowing ‘how I spent my summer vacation’ story.

He was travelling back from Alaska, where cannabis is legal, to Canada, where cannabis is legal.

So, when the customs agent at the border asked him if he was carrying any cannabis products, he thought nothing of declaring it—particularly since he is a medical user—which led to a three-hour ordeal and confiscation of his weed and some other paraphernalia he was carrying, but fortunately no charges.


By the numbers, community matters

Would that we could shine so brightly

The legalization of marijuana in Canada on Oct. 17, 2018 did not change Canada’s border rules for the substance.

It is illegal to carry any cannabis product across the border in either direction, even if you are travelling to or from a state where it is legal.

That being said, this man, absolutely did the right thing in declaring it. It is a further crime not to and could lead to criminal prosecution, which, thankfully, our friend from Kitwanga is not currently facing.

Going the other way is even worse. While certain states have legalized pot, it is still illegal under federal law. The border is federal jurisdiction. And the U.S. government is a little humourless when it comes to the importing the stuff.

A person could very easily wind up in an American jail, a fate, by most accounts, far worse than winding up in a Canadian jail.

Ultimately, I think Canada has some bugs to work out in this legalization scheme. As a legally purchased product, it should be eligible for importing just as alcohol and tobacco products are.

It is not.

Perhaps some day it will be, but it is highly unlikely that is going to happen until the Americans make it legal nationally. They will and we may even see it in the duty-free shops eventually.

In the meantime, I wanted to pass along this story as a cautionary tale for other travellers.

Do not try to cross the border with pot, in either direction, even if you have a prescription.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

(BC Hydro photo)
BC Hydro planned power outages to darken downtown Smithers for most of day Sunday, Jan 17

Replacement of poles will affect approximately 250 customers in downtown core from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Smithers Local Health Area reported 25 new cases of COVID-19 Jan. 3 - 9. (BC CDC graphic)
Weekly new cases of COVID-19 rise to 25 in Smithers LHA Jan. 3 – 9

Northern Health reported 49 new daily cases for 497 active, 44 hospitalized, 13 in critical care

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Most Read