Although cannabis is legal in Canada, cannabis-related offences can have a significant influence on one’s ability to cross the border.
In 2018, Canada made recreational cannabis purchase and use legal. While marijuana is officially legal, it is still heavily restricted. Cannabis-related offences may jeopardise a foreign national’s eligibility to immigrate to Canada
Here are some of Canada’s marijuana laws, as well as some possibilities for cannabis users who have been afoul of the law to avoid inadmissibility.
Marijuana at the border
Marijuana transport from Canada to another nation — or from another country to Canada — is still prohibited. Even though marijuana is legal in both the other country and Canada, this regulation applies.
The only exemption is for approved providers who have been granted a permission by the Canadian government. These permissions can only be obtained for medical or scientific purposes.
Travellers must declare and surrender marijuana at the Canada border in all other situations. This prohibition cannot be circumvented by sending or receiving cannabis over the mail. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in penalties. Detention, fines, and limits on one’s ability to enter Canada in the future.
Driving under the influence of marijuana
The dangers of driving while inebriated or under the influence of drugs such as prescription medications are well-known. Many people, on the other hand, are uninformed of the dangers of driving while high on marijuana.
Impaired driving, especially driving under the influence of marijuana, is a serious offence in Canada. The offences listed below are all criminal offences. Fines or prison time may be imposed if the perpetrator is convicted:
Driving with more than 2 nanograms of cannabis per mL in one’s blood, or driving within two hours of having done so; driving in a dangerous manner; and refusing to take a roadside drug or alcohol test are all criminal offences.
In Canada, marijuana can be obtained and used in a various ways.
Each province and territory in Canada has its own minimum age for cannabis use. In Alberta, it is 18, in Quebec, it is 21, and in every other province or territory, it is 19. It is still illegal for minor people to get cannabis, or for adults to help them get it.
Adults who use cannabis must do it lawfully. This implies they can only buy it from a government-licensed store or provider. The maximum amount of dried cannabis that an individual can have in public is 30 grammes. Because cannabis can be found in a variety of forms, the Canadian government has devised a process for converting it.
One gramme of dried cannabis, for example, is equal to five grammes of fresh cannabis. A cannabis converter is available online from the Canadian government. This application allows users to enter and convert various amounts and types of marijuana in order to stay within the legal limit. The calculator can be found here.
Criminal records with cannabis
Certain formerly unlawful marijuana-related activities were made legal under the Cannabis Act. Individuals from outside Canada who intend to travel to Canada will be affected by this move. This is due to Canada’s severe entrance requirements for those with criminal records from other countries.
In certain situations, Canada compares foreign legislation to its own. The person may have an issue if something is illegal in both countries. If the behaviour is not illegal in Canada, there should be no problem.
Because public possession of up to 30 grammes of dried cannabis (or similar) is now lawful in Canada, a foreign criminal prosecution or conviction for mere possession of amounts up to this level should not cause any issues.
However, if the person was prosecuted or convicted of activities that are still unlawful in Canada outside of Canada, they may have difficulties reenter. The nature, number, and timing of the individual’s offence will influence whether or not they are admissible.
Getting Past Inadmissibility
In general, there are three options for dealing with inadmissibility:
Temporary Resident Permit (TRP): This document allows someone who is otherwise criminally inadmissible to enter Canada for a limited period of time. The traveller can apply for a TRP at a Canadian embassy or border if they are an American citizen or permanent resident.
A TRP might be valid for as little as one day or as long as three years. It could be valid for only one entry into Canada, or it could be valid for several entries. These aspects will vary depending on the reason for the trip to Canada.
When it comes to establishing the validity duration of a TRP, reviewing officers have a lot of leeway. The most significant factor is usually the reason for entering Canada.
Criminal rehabilitation is the process of restoring permanent admissibility to someone who was previously ineligible. Eligibility is determined by considerations such as the offence committed, the sentence served, and the amount of time since the sentence was completed.
If you were convicted of a crime or crimes in another country and your sentence was completed more than five years ago, you are likely eligible for Canadian criminal rehabilitation. Criminal rehabilitation is a one-time remedy that does not require renewal, unlike a TRP.
This method requires that at least five years have passed since the sentence was completed. This means that in some recent marijuana cases, TRP will be the only route to enter Canada for someone who want to do so.
For example, anyone caught driving under the influence of marijuana after October 17, 2018 is ineligible to enter Canada due to serious crime. There will not have been enough time since the act or sentencing to be eligible for rehabilitation.
To summarise, just because marijuana is legal in Canada does not mean that everyone who has ever been charged with a cannabis-related offence is free to cross the border. Those who have, though, should not assume that their Canadian dream is over.
A legal opinion letter, which is a document prepared by a Canadian immigration lawyer, is another remedy for a probable Inadmissibility issue. It comprises information about a previous marijuana charge or conviction, as well as the lawyer’s legal opinion on the case.
The letter’s objective is to highlight pertinent Canadian law and explain why the individual should be considered admitted to Canada. A legal opinion letter may be useful for your next journey into Canada if you have been denied entry in the past due to a marijuana-related conviction (such as possession of paraphernalia), have a recent charge, or admitted marijuana usage at a port of entry.
Before entering a final plea, persons in a pre-sentencing position may benefit from a legal opinion letter. A direct equivalency of a certain cannabis-related offence into Canadian law can be explained in the letter.