“Vancouver psychotherapist Andrew Feldmar has been barred from entering the United States. The reason? During a random stop-and-search at a US/Canadian border crossing, a Google search of his name led to his article from the Spring 2001 ‘Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Arts.’ In it Feldmar describes two acid trips he took under the supervision of his graduate adviser in psychology — in 1967 and how the substance could be used to understand the self and a possible alternative to psychotherapy. This turns out to have been enough to earn him a life-time ban under the grounds of ‘admitted drug use.’
“Feldmar *was* told he could apply for a waiver, and that after a year, and at a cost of around $3,500, he had a ‘90% chance’ of its being granted.
“Oh — and he’d have to go through the process each time he wanted to travel to the US.”
The official said that under the Homeland Security Act, Feldmar was being denied entry due to “narcotics” use. LSD is not a narcotic substance, Feldmar tried to explain, but an entheogen. The guard wasn’t interested in technicalities. He asked for a statement from Feldmar admitting to having used LSD and he fingerprinted Feldmar for an FBI file…
Feldmar was determined, in the months after the aborted border crossing, to turn things around. He was particularly determined because the idea of not being able to visit his children at their homes was unthinkable.
Mike Milne, spokesman for U.S. border and protection, based in Seattle says “Anyone who is determined to be a drug abuser or user is inadmissible. A crime involving moral turpitude is inadmissible and one of those areas is a violation of controlled substances.”
If there’s no criminal record, as in Feldmar’s case?
Not necessarily the criterion, Milne said. You can still be considered dangerous.
Eugene Oscapella, an Ottawa lawyer, who lectures on drug policy issues in the department of criminology at the University of Ottaw and works as a policy adviser to a range of government agencies and departments, including the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada says:
“This is about the marriage of the war on drugs and the war on terror, and the blind, bureaucratic mindset it encourages. Government surveillance in the name of the war on drugs and the war on terror is in danger of making us all open books to zealous governments. As someone mentioned at a privacy conference I attended in London, U.K., several months ago, all the tools for an authoritarian state are now in place; it’s just that we haven’t yet adopted authoritarian methods. But in the area of drugs, maybe we have.”