Date of Award

Fall 2021

Publication Type


Degree Name



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology


Canada, CBSA, Drugs, International Boundary, Police, Race


N. Delia Deckard


J. Deukmedjian



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Canada is one of the few jurisdictions in the world where cannabis for personal and recreational purposes is legal. Prior to October 17th 2018, the possession of any quantity of cannabis was a criminal offence, making individuals vulnerable to onerous criminal sanctions. The legislative act that resulted in the decriminalization and regulation of cannabis was framed as a means of advancing public health goals and reducing inequalities. Those once engaged in low level cannabis activities were no longer subject to criminal sanctions within Canada. However, the criminal status and practices upholding the prohibition of cannabis continues at Canada’s borders and international ports of entry. Individuals are still subject to criminal sanctions if caught entering Canada with cannabis. This thesis explores the enduring prohibition of cannabis at Canada’s international ports of entry from the perspective of its theoretical oppressive elements. I will examine the theoretical risk of state-propelled discrimination resulting from the continued prohibition of cannabis at the Canadian border by referencing sources of knowledge and applying that against the conditions surrounding law enforcement at Canada’s international ports of entry. Conclusions drawn about the possibility of discriminatory practices at the border will depend on existing knowledge. Generalizations regarding the theoretical risk of racist practices surrounding the continued prohibition of cannabis on the Canadian side of the Canada-U.S. divide will be made by referencing issues afflicting racialized populations in Canada.