From the war on drugs to marijuana tourism – there is no doubt that some American states are on a new path. This has many Canadians wondering if they can travel to the United States with a marijuana conviction on their record.
Where is marijuana legalized?
Recreational marijuana use is now legal in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska. Medical marijuana is also legal in many other states. It seems odd for someone living in British Columbia who wants to cross into Washington to have to worry about a possession conviction that would not even be illegal on the other side of the border.
Unfortunately, marijuana is still prohibited under federal laws in the United States. This means the border guards do not care if your conviction would be legal under state law. You can be turned back at the Washington or Alaska borders or if you try to fly into any state.
If you have a marijuana conviction on your record, your option is to apply for a US Waiver.
A US Waiver is issued for six months to five years and will allow you to enter the United States despite a criminal record. Once the waiver is close to expiring, you can reapply.
If you are planning to do some “marijuana tourism” in the United States, don’t be too open with guards about your plans. They will turn you back if they believe that you are going into the country to do something that, to them, is completely illegal. Tell the border guards that you plan to do some shopping and leave it at that.
Remember that recreational marijuana use is illegal in Canada (for now), and you won’t be able to bring home any souvenirs of your trip.
If you have a marijuana conviction and want to enter the United States, contact us today for a free consultation.