Acid Free America?

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"Zenon told me he had had enough strange experiences, that he had gone about as far with LSD as he wished to go. He still had what was once legal.... Looking back 33 years, I don't quite recall why I decided to accept his tentative offer. I was 27 years old and thought of myself as a rational scientist, and had no experience with delirium, hallucination, or altered mind states. I was curious. Very curious. I thought that, like Faust, I might make a pact with the devil in return for esoteric knowledge."

Zenon gave him 900 micrograms of acid and the surprise of his life, he wrote in the Janus Head article. "Following this initiation, I traveled to many regions many times with the help of many different substances. I took peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, cannabis, MDMA, DMT, ketamine, nitrous oxide 5-MEO-DMT, but I kept coming back to LSD. Acid seemed my most spacious, most helpful ally. While on it, I explored my past, regressed to the womb, to my conception. I remembered, grieved, and mourned many painful events. I saw how my parents would have liked to love me, and how they didn't because they didn't know how. I learned, on acid, to endure troubling and frightening states of mind. This enabled me, as meditation has done, to identify with being the witness of the workings of my mind, observing whatever was going on, while knowing that I was simply captivated by the forms produced by my own psyche."

After receiving his MA, Feldmar spent a semester in the U.S. at the Johns Hopkins University's Ph.D. program in theoretical statistics. In 1969, he began Ph.D. work with Dr. Charles Osgood in psycholinguistics at the University of Illinois at Champagne Urbana. He did further Ph.D. studies at Simon Fraser University.

Legal options expensive

Feldmar was determined, in the months after the aborted border crossing, to turn things around. He was particularly determined because the idea of not being able to visit his children at their homes was unthinkable.

He contacted the U.S. Consul in Vancouver to protest and was again told to apply for a waiver. When he consulted Seattle attorney Bob Free at MacDonald, Hoague and Bayless about going through this process, he learned that for $3,500 (U.S.) plus incidentals, he'd have a 90 per cent chance to get the waiver, but it would probably be just for a year, and the procedure would have to be initiated again, any time he wished to cross the border. Each time, he would have to produce a statement saying that he had been "rehabilitated."

He looked into filing suit against the U.S. government for wrongdoing but gave up the idea when he learned that a legal battle with U.S. Customs would cost his life's savings and, with the balance of power tipped so extremely in the government's favor, he would almost surely lose.

Again, he appealed to the U.S. Consulate. The consulate wouldn't return his phone calls, but in this e-mail message to Feldmar, the consulate explained its position.

"Both our countries have very similar regulations regarding issuance of visas for citizens who have violated the law. The issue here is not the writing of an article, but the taking of controlled substances. I hear from American citizens all the time who have decades-old DUI convictions who are barred from entry into Canada and who must apply for waivers. Same thing here. Waiver is the only way."

Ensnared by Section IV

"Admitted drug use is admitted drug use," says Mike Milne, spokesman for U.S. border and protection, based in Seattle. Milne said he could not comment specifically on the Feldmar case, due to privacy issues, but he quoted from the U.S. Immigration Law Handbook section which refers to "general classes of aliens ineligible to receive visas and ineligible for admissions" to help shed light on the clauses that may have ensnared the Vancouver psychotherapist.

"Persons with AIDS, tuberculosis, infectious diseases are inadmissible," Milne said. And then there is Section IV. "Anyone who is determined to be a drug abuser or user is inadmissible. A crime involving moral turpitude is inadmissible and one of those areas is a violation of controlled substances."

If there's no criminal record, as in Feldmar's case?

Not necessarily the criterion, Milne said. You can still be considered dangerous.

'More diligent and vigilant'

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