A hard working middle class Vancouver Island man who won fair and square an all-expenses-paid trip to the Super Bowl in New Orleans has been refused entry into the U.S. because of a marijuana possession conviction dating back to 1981.
Victoria resident Myles Wilkinson won the trip in a fantasy football league contest, competing against nearly four million other players for the chance to attend the National Football League championship, featuring the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.
But when he got to Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Thursday, U.S. customs agents learned of a marijuana possession conviction in Vancouver in 1981 and told him he was not allowed to enter the country.
"I had two grams of cannabis. I paid a $50 fine," Wilkinson told CBC news. Wilkinson said he was 19 when he was busted.
"I can't believe that this is happening, for something that happened 32 years ago."
Wilkinson's denial of entry into the U.S. is a common story, according to Dana Larsen, director of the Sensible B.C. campaign, a group advocating for the decriminalization of marijuana.
"There's hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have these criminal records for small amounts of cannabis and that results in a lifetime ban for accessing the U.S."
Beer-maker Bud Light Canada, which sponsored the fantasy football contest that Wilkinson won, does not appear to have to provide the prize in these circumstances (gosh how 'bout that!) despite Mr. Wilkinson winning fair and square. Lets hope children don’t learn the wrong lesson from this.