You know what, I love Canada. I do. I like their progressive politics, their music is kick-ass (Celine Dion being the obvious exception), and I like hockey. But what I like most about Canada is their ambiance. They have cool clubs, Vancouver is way more cosmopolitan than Seattle, and the aquarium rules.
Then there’s the little matter of their drug and alcohol laws. They’re less…parental than what we’ve got down here. Lots of Western underclassmen take advantage of this. But here’s the things buds, Canada aint the Netherlands. While it’s fun to go up there and cut loose, it’s not a hedonistic playground. They still have laws and your little American tooshy can still get into a heap of trouble for breaking them. So as is my usual task here at the Buzz, I’m going to clear up some misconceptions you may have.
Let’s start with actually getting into Canada. You are going to need some IDs. Used to be you could get away with just a driver’s license but this is a new age my darlings, and those loosey-goosy border laws just aren’t gonna cut it anymore. You are going to need at least two forms of ID, including one that proves you are a citizen. This could be a passport or an original birth certificate.
And if you’ve been convicted of a felony or a major crime you might want to plan some other way to spend your evening, cause chances are you aren’t getting across. In Canada they consider a DUI a felony offense so a conviction like that on your record probably won’t fly either.
So you’ve made it across the border. Now what? If you’ve got an ID saying you’re at least 19 (and you are in B.C.); you’re golden to hit the bars. Sure they pour the drinks weak and they tend to be pricey. Who cares. You’re living an adult lifestyle you only dreamt about back in the USA.
Have a good time but DO NOT drink and drive. As was already explained, they consider it a felony and will not hesitate to throw your ass in jail. While it may not be Brokedown Palace bad, it’s still an awkward phone call to make to your folks and a crappy situation to be in. Get a room close to your club of choice, or pull straws for the designated driver.
Let’s talk about the Mary Jane. Perhaps you’ve heard that weed is totally legal in British Columbia, that it is some kind of paradise where the buds flow like wine and the stoners flock like the salmon of Capistrano. That last part may be true, but weed is not legal in BC.
The RCMP (their version of the 5-0) tend to not enforce the laws as harshly as is done here, the consequences are less harsh, and they have made protections for medical marijuana users, but it’s still illegal. So be careful.
And for the love of God, do not try and bring the stuff back with you. Get caught and you are so screwed. Even a twenty sack is international drug smuggling, and the U.S. law enforcement will throw the book at you. Again, it’s an uncomfortable phone call to your parents and a big lawyer bill.
Another time coming back to America is problematic is when you are wasted. Of course you’ve got your designated driver, but your body counts as a container, and if the border patrol agent feels like it, she can give you an MIP. It doesn’t matter that you drank the booze legally in Canada.
So try and sober up before you cross the border, keep your mouths shut, or just spend the night. They got plenty of hostels where you can stay for cheap. That also gives you an opportunity to check out what Vancouver has to offer besides the nightlife. I’m gonna plug the aquarium again here. They have sharks!
So none of this is legal advice, since I’m not a lawyer. I just play one on TV. If you want to talk to a real one and a rep from the RCMP, you should stop by the VU 464 on 4/20 (go ahead and giggle) at 2:30. This is an opportunity to ask them yourself about these and many other topics. There’s gonna be pizza, and I might even order Canadian Bacon, just to stay on theme.
Stay classy Western, eh!