Marijuana use can still result in a criminal record and being denied entry into the United States, according to Pardon Services Canada

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Civic Science reported last month that the support for the legalization of marijuana continues to grow. However, since it is still federally illegal, a criminal record may result from possession or use.

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Denied entries are updated instantly in a national database so there are records of any illegal attempts to cross into the US.

A report released by Civic Science on August 28, 2014, shows most Americans support legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana in the same way that alcohol is. Based on a poll of 453,653 US based adults over the almost the past two years, 58% of respondents support this approach to marijuana, 7% have no strong opinion and only 35% oppose it.

However, telling a border guard that you are travelling into the states to participate in smoking weed legally can prohibit you from entering the US. Michael Milne of US Customs and Border Protection says “the agency's policies aren't changing to accommodate state-level plans to legalize pot.” He goes on to say “Border guards enforce federal laws — and marijuana is still restricted by the U.S. government — so Canadians who disclose plans to try legal pot south of the border could be turned away — or barred from the U.S. indefinitely.” (CBC News, 2013 Mason Tvert, Communications Director for the Marijuana Policy Project also says, "Public support for ending marijuana prohibition is at an all-time high, and people can sense that change is inevitable." (Fox News, 2014)

Although the process of legalizing the use of marijuana in the US is well under way in many states, federally it is still illegal. According to Azmairnin Jadavji, President of Pardon Services Canada, “Entry to the US can be denied if a person has a criminal record that involves narcotics of any kind, including marijuana.” For individuals with a past criminal record, it’s important to know that a US Entry Waiver is required for legal entry into the United States. Attempting an illegal entry can result in being jailed and property can be confiscated. Apply at least one year prior to an anticipated travel date to ensure border crossing will not be an issue, since obtaining a US entry waiver requires extensive paperwork.

Denied entries are updated instantly in a national database so there are records of any illegal attempts to cross into the US. Having a US Entry Waiver supersedes the authority that the border guards have in preventing a person with a criminal record from entering the US. If people have questions or concerns, are overwhelmed by the prospect of having to accumulate all the necessary documents, or simply want the peace of mind of professionals expediting the US Entry Waiver process, contact Pardon Services Canada.

About Pardon Services Canada An industry leader helping Canadians overcome the obstacles of a criminal record. Since 1989, Pardon Services Canada has successfully assisted over 100,000 Canadians exercise their lawful rights under the Criminal Records Act of Canada and the Immigration and Nationality Act of the United States. Services include US entry waivers, record suspensions (formerly called pardons), and fingerprinting. Offices are located in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal. Call toll free 1-866-972-7366 or visit the website Pardon Services Canada

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Anna Austin
Pardon Services Canada
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