In February I went to an Obama Town Hall Meeting here in Austin and asked readers to send me their suggestions should I be picked to ask him a question. (I wasn’t – but thanks to those who commented and/or emailed.)

Now Windy Pundit has thrown down the gauntlet in a comment to my post about Ms. Palin’s attempts to criminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Alaska – despite admitting that she enjoyed it herself in the past. WP wants to ask Ms. Palin:


U.S. Customs and Border Protection has refused entry to people who admitted smoking pot, even if they were never convicted of a crime. If you were president, is it alright if other countries don’t let you visit for the same reason?


Good question. And indeed he’s correct.


Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act: Section 212 “General Classes of Aliens ineligible to receive Visas and ineligible for Admission” subsection (a)(2)(A) non-citizens are ineligible to be admitted to the United States on certain criminal related grounds. For example:


2) Criminal and related grounds.-


(A) Conviction of Certain Crimes


(i) In general.-Except as provided in clause (ii), any alien convicted of, or who admits having committed, or who admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of-


(I)                 a crime involving moral turpitude (other than a purely political offense or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime), or

(II)              a violation of (or a conspiracy or attempt to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)), is inadmissible.


There are exceptions for crimes of moral turpitude – such as shoplifting, misdemeanor assault – if the person seeking entry was under 18 at the time of the offense, or didn’t receive a sentence of more than 6 months and the offense carried a amximum penalty of a year – but I don’t see one for the controlled substance provision.


And the important to remember here is the phrase:


any alien… who admits having committed…a violation of… any law… relating to a controlled substance


That’s right folks. This is for admitting you smoked marijuana at any time in the past whether you were ever charged for it or not. Makes you ineligible for admission to the United States.


So, Ms. Palin… turnabout is fair play right? You’re OK with other countries refusing to let you visit because you told the local newspaper in 2006 that you had smoked marijuana at some point in your past?