Is it a bad time to take a day trip to Canada?

I’m visiting my family next week and they live close to Montreal. And I was thinking I hadn’t been up to Montreal in a couple of years and was planning on driving up there for a day.

But now a thought occurs to me. If I drive up to Canada for no apparent purpose are the border guards going to assume I went up there to buy marijuana and tear my car apart looking for it when I return?

It would seem to me that “visiting family” is a legitimate purpose. If they enquire further, you could add a little detail: “Well, I visted my cousin and his family, and we had lunch at their home, then we spent the rest of the day watching his kids play soccer in their soccer league.”

Or whatever is applicable and truthful. My point is that there are a number of legitimate purposes for visiting another country, the vast majority of which do not involve marijuana.

The problem isn’t t the Canadian guards it is the American ones. Given the American psychosis regarding grass I think it is a legitimate concern.

I’d say that, more likely than not, if there is nothing about your look or demeanor that trips them out then you’ll be fine. If you tick off any mental boxes or they are having a bad day then you’re likely to come under increased scrutiny.

You can be certain that border security has been put on alert and has been told to be hyper vigilant - but at the same time they have a lot of commercial and tourist traffic to get through so they have to balance.

Either way, keep any answers short, direct and provide only the amount of detail the question requires. If they ask something you don’t actually have to answer then decline - politely and respectfully. If there is any dispute - even if you are right - shut up about it. Obey now and grieve later as a former shop steward of mine told me. Remember, they have the power and in a confrontation it is likely that the best you can hope for is to be denied entry. It gets worse from there.

The above advice applies to dealing with anyone in law enforcement.

TLDR: It is always a great time to visit my beloved country. But yes, crossing back and forth is probably going to be a bit more irksome on the American side for some time to come.

I did a quick trip to Canada. While there I bought a jug of Crown Royal.

Because I didn’t stay overnight, I had to pay a duty on the jug.

Depends which country you are from, not to mention third countries, IME. I’m not talking about marijuana specifically. The Canadians hassled me and my wife (from the US) quite a bit last time we went to Montreal, and the time before that crossing from Port Huron MI too. I guess they had their reasons, presumably people smuggling drugs that are not legal in Canada, they really seemed to think they were on to something in the Montreal case (which they were not, remotely). Or maybe there’s just something about us (we look so unlikely to be drug smugglers maybe it’s a brilliant ruse, eh?) but we’re through going to Canada.

Never had anything but a wave through coming back to the US. But in laws from a third country had a hassle coming into the US from Canada though one time, about a real paper work problem it happened to be. Anyway I’m sure it depends on luck of draw and lots of other things.

My family lives near Montreal but not in Canada. So visiting Montreal would be unconnected to visiting my family.

I want to be even more clear on this point; I have no intentions of buying drugs in Canada or anywhere else. I will not be doing anything illegal in Canada. So my actual purposes for going to Canada are not an issue.

The problem I face is whether or not the border guards will think I did something illegal, even though I didn’t. The issue is what they imagine not what I do.

I doubt they’ll tear your car apart or anything close to that. My son didn’t have his luggage torn apart when he returned from Amsterdam just in case he brought some marijuana back with him.

I think you’re being excessively and unrealistically paranoid, to put it mildly. You have a purpose for visiting so just tell them what it is. It doesn’t have to be an important purpose.

FWIW I’ve crossed the border in both directions hundreds of times without issue 99% of the time. The very few times there was any issue like rudeness or additional questioning it was always when going to the US. YMMV, I suppose.

We’re thinking of going up to Vancouver tomorrow.

As I’ve said, I’m not worried because I’ll be doing anything wrong. I’m worried because somebody else might imagine I’m doing something wrong and will be in a position to act on their beliefs, regardless of my actual innocence.

Not to trivialize a serious issue but I’m like a black guy walking down the street. I know I’m innocent but I have to consider whether the people living in this particular neighborhood will think I look like a criminal. Because I’m the one who’ll pay the price for their mistaken belief.

Ah, I see. I misunderstood, then.

Still, however, there are lots of reasons to visit Montreal as a tourist. A Canadiens or Alouettes game, a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s, attending a music festival of some sort, walking up Mount Royal, trying out your high school French–I don’t know where your tastes lie, but these, and others, would be legitimate reasons, I’d suggest.

They might very well have a dog give you, your companions, and your vehicle a casual sniff. If the dog doesn’t react, you’ll probably just get waved through. If the dog does react, well…

I understand that, and I’m just saying your worry seems very excessive. Nothing much has changed in Canada since cannabis was effectively decriminalized many years ago. It didn’t suddenly turn into a drug den on October 17th. Life goes on, and thousands of Canadians and Americans continue to cross the border every day without issue. I have friends living near the border who go shopping in the US every week or so, and treat it as little more than an out-of-town drive.

So, if you aren’t traveling to Montreal to visit family, why are you visiting Montreal? Sure, there are lots of legitimate reasons to go to Montreal and back in a day. There are also lots of illegal ones. Their job is to stop the people committing illegal acts. If you are evasive in answering their questions, they are going to dig deeper.

As far as your concerned, it is not an issue, but to the boarder guards, it might be. It all depends on what your actual purposes are for going to Canada (or, more importantly, your purposes are for entering the United States).

Whether or not you did anything illegal while you were in Canada is of no concern to the US guards (provided, of course, you aren’t on the lam from the RCMP). The guards have to deal with 100’s of people every day. If you don’t give them a reason to spend more time with you than average, they aren’t going to want to. If you try to act as if they have no right to question you by virtue of the fact that you haven’t done anything wrong, well, they will probably think you are trying to hide something. Either that, or you’re just looking for trouble. If you’re looking for trouble, messing with federal agents is is good way to find it.

If you are planning to visit Canada regularly, then you should get a NEXUS card for you and all family members. It’s a fast track/pre screening across the border both ways.

True. But it may not be the best choice if you’re only going once or twice a year.

I am a Canadian citizen, resident in Canada, and I visit Las Vegas once or twice a year, and would like to return to New York City and/or Los Angeles and/or San Francisco sometime. But I’m not in the position where I’m visiting the US once a month or less, when a NEXUS card might make sense. All my trips to the US are for vacation purposes, and American CBP generally wave me through after a few questions. I present no threat.

As I understand things, a NEXUS card requires forms and fees, and interviews by both Canadian and American officials; and for one daytrip to Montreal, all that is not worth it for the OP. Someone who is intending a daytrip to Montreal does not need a NEXUS card; and neither do I, for a once or twice a year visit to the US.

My point is, a NEXUS card is a great thing. But if you’re filling out the forms, paying the fees, and making time to be interviewed by both countries’ authorities just so you can can cross the border once or twice a year or less–maybe you’d do well to rethink your reasons for getting a NEXUS card.

I cross the border either by land or air 6-8 times per year and it saves me between 0 and 90 minutes per trip. I just received my second renewal and I haven’t required an interview since initial one a decade ago. Fro an effective $10/year and 10 minutes every 5 years it is worth it for many people.

Nexus also gets you Pre-Clearance with TSA, for less than it costs to sign up for the TSA Pre-Clearance program by itself. NOT just for flights between US and Canada, but any domestic flight too.

I loves me my Nexus card.

Ask all of the people who’ve gotten pulled over on I-70 leaving Colorado since weed passed. It’ll take you a while; there are a ton of them.