Canada legalized the recreational use of cannabis in 2018. Last year, the government also implemented a pardon program to clear the criminal records of Canadians convicted of simple marijuana possession. Unfortunately, a pot pardon means nothing to United States immigration and does not allow Canadians to travel to the U.S.
The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) reports that:
- 458 people have applied for a cannabis pardon
- 259 were accepted for consideration
- 257 were granted
- 2 applications discontinued
- 194 applications were returned because the person was ineligible or the file was incomplete
- 5 more are still in the works
Even With A Pot Pardon You Cannot Enter the U.S.
Canada immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah advises that the U.S. federal laws on marijuana possession, use and investment have not changed and that Canadians with a cannabis conviction - even if they have a cannabis pardon - should consult an immigration lawyer before they travel to the United States:
U.S. federal laws on cannabis have not changed. Canada Bill C-93 does not erase information about Canadians' criminal history that was already electronically shared with the U.S. border patrol database. Canadians with criminal records for cannabis possession still face problems at the border, and are still subject to being denied entry or a permanent ban on entering the U.S. even if they have a pardon.
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CAnnabis Pardons, Visa Waivers and Cross Border Travel
- Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility to Enter Canada or the United States
- What U.S. and Canadian Employers Need to Know About Canada's New Marijuana Laws
- How to Enter Canada If You've Been Convicted of Marijuana Use or Related Crimes
Hire an Immigration Lawyer If You Have A Criminal Indamissibility Issue
One of the most stressful issues for people traveling to Canada or the United States is criminal inadmissibility. New data shows that applications by immigration lawyers are nearly 50% more successful. The chances of a successful immigration application to Canada are much higher - nearly double - if you hire an immigration lawyer to help get your study, work or visitor visas, according to immigration data obtained under an access to information request by The Toronto Star.
If you have questions about the eligibility of you or your team to cross the U.S. / Canada border on business or for personal reasons, contact Ackah Law today at (587) 602-0343 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.