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Canadians Who Legally Buy Marijuana in Canada May be Denied Entry to the U.S.

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Inadmissibility Issues and Waivers and Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization

Canadians Who Legally Buy Marijuana in Canada May be Denied Entry to the U.S.

Immigration lawyers and experts are advising Canadians who legally buy pot in Canada that they may be banned for life from entering the United States.

Even if you legally purchase marijuana in Canada and cross the border into a U.S. state where buying marijuana is legal, a U.S. immigration lawyer says,

a provision in U.S. immigration law which bars “drug abusers” on medical grounds applies even if you used marijuana in another country legally.

Non-Americans using a credit card to purchase marijuana and other online financial data is not protected under United States privacy laws and may be available to U.S. immigration officials. Calgary immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah explains,

It can be a catch-22: if a Canadian crossing the U.S. border lies about legally using marijuana in Canada - even for medical reasons - they can be banned from entering the United States for lying to immigration officials.

Buying recreational marijuana will become legal in Canada in 2018. It varies from state to state in the U.S. whether it is legal to buy marijuana for recreation or medical purposes, and while state laws are rapidly changing federal laws still make it illegal to buy and use marijuana in the United States. Several U.S.-Canada states allow the legal sale of marijuana under specific conditions, including border state Washington.

Immigration lawyers advise Canadians to never lie at the border crossing, but instead to refuse to answer the question about marijuana use. In that case, you will be denied admission to the United States on that occasion, but will not be banned for life.

Parliamentary secretary to Canada’s minister of public safety Mark Holland said, "Canadian officials have been in “close contact” with their American counterparts about the upcoming legalization of the drug north of the border."

Inadmissibility to Canada

If you are permanently banned from entering the United States for your legal Canadian purchase and use of marijuana, you can appeal the decision. Ackah Business Immigration Law provides comprehensive expertise in all areas of Canadian and United States immigration law. Our innovative legal practice combines professional knowledge, personal attention, and supportive advice. With knowledge and expertise, we navigate complex U.S. immigration rules and regulations to solve problems and remove obstacles, before you get to the border.


Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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