Have you ever smoked pot? Saying yes can get foreigners barred for life at the US border

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With recreational marijuana already legal up and down the West Coast, from Alaska to California, he said, more Canadians may let down their guard and admit to U.S. authorities that they’ve used marijuana, reason enough to get foreigners barred from entering the country.

One of Saunders’ clients, Alan Ranta, 36, a freelance music journalist from Vancouver, British Columbia, got barred last year as he tried to drive his Toyota Yaris into Washington state. During questioning, he was handcuffed and told a U.S. border guard he had smoked marijuana in the past. Even though he was not carrying the drug with him at the time. Ranta said, he was told that under U.S. law he had committed “a crime involving moral turpitude.”

“It lulls you into a false sense of security when you don’t have anything on you and you’ve done nothing wrong and you’re going to a place where it’s legal,” Ranta said. “You keep thinking, ‘This is crazy, why am I getting in trouble?’ ”

He figures he was stopped because he and a friend were headed to a music festival, with a banana suit, tutus and a psychedelic top hat visible in the car: “If it’s an electronic music festival, we like to dress up in weird things that we’d never wear day to day.”

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