Canada’s Cannabis Act, otherwise called Bill C-45, legalizes cannabis nationally on October 17th. The starting point for all U.S. border issues is the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list below of the key provisions of the INA concerning marijuana and inadmissibility.
I. Criminality Related Grounds
a.) A past conviction related to cannabis [INA § 212(a)(2)(A)(II)];
b.) Admitting to committing a violation of any law or regulation of a foreign country related to controlled substances [INA § 212(a)(2)(A)(II)];
c.) Admitting to committing acts which constitute the essential elements of any law or regulation of a foreign country related to controlled substances [INA § 212(a)(2)(A)(II)];
Note: Cannabis on person/in car: this is a Customs violation, likely warranting a fine and further questions. Not typically referred for prosecution, though a violation of the Controlled Substance Act. Waiver usually required thereafter. Also, note, cannabis may also be involved in crimes involving moral turpitude, a separate basis of inadmissibility.
B. Illicit Trafficking (“Reason to Believe”: no conviction required)
d.) Where the U.S. Government knows or has “reason to believe” (no conviction required) is an illicit trafficker, or who is or has been a knowing aider, abettor, assister, conspirator or colluder with others who are in illicit trafficking [INA § 212(a)(2)(C)(i)];
e.) A spouse, son or daughter of an illicit trafficker, who has received financial or other benefit from the illicit trafficking in the past five years, and knew or reasonably should have known that the financial or other benefit was a product of such illicit activity. [INA § 212(a)(2)(C)(ii)];
II. Health related grounds (“Drug abuser/Drug Addict”; “Physical/Mental Disorder”)
f.) A determination that a noncitizen is a drug abuser or drug addict, in accordance with regulations prescribed by Health and Human Services [INA § 212(a)(1)(A)(iv)];
g.) A determination that a noncitizen has a physical or mental disorder and behavior/ history of behavior posing threat to property, safety or welfare of others [INA § 212(a)(1)(A)(iii)(I and II)]
• Panel physician – have to pay government certified physician for exam
• CDC Technical Instructions requires 1 year of remission
III. National Security- (Unlawful purpose)
h.) Seeking entry principally or incidentally for an unlawful activity [INA § 212(a)(3)(ii)];
i.) Fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact in pursuit of an immigration benefit [INA § 212(a)(6)(C)].