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Canada immigration lawyer focused on helping Americans apply for a Temporary Resident Permit so they can travel to Canada with a criminal record. We offer free comprehensive consultations (unlike many businesses who demand a retainer before assessing your options).

Can You Enter Canada with a Marijuana Possession Conviction or Civil Infraction?

In some cases, an arrest or conviction for drug possession can render a person criminally inadmissible to Canada. If an offense is considered an indictable or hybrid crime according to the equivalent Canadian statute, the individual may be denied entry to Canada without the required permits and documentation. In Canada, simple possession of fewer than 30 grams of marijuana is a summary offense, which means a single conviction will not necessarily render an American inadmissible to Canada.

Two or more minor marijuana possession offenses can cause a person to be considered inadmissible to Canada, even if the violations happened in a state with decriminalized marijuana and only resulted in a civil infraction such as a fine. This means that a person charged with a single Class B misdemeanor for marijuana possession in Texas could still be permitted entry to Canada, but a person who has been fined twice for possession or public consumption of marijuana in California could be considered inadmissible to the country due to criminality.

If you have ever been arrested for possession of marijuana, even if it was an extremely small amount such as a single joint, you should consider obtaining a legal opinion letter before attempting to visit Canada. Even if you were not convicted of the offense, it can still lead to issues at the Canadian border. Anyone fined or criminally charged for cannabis possession two or more times may need to overcome their Canadian criminal inadmissibility with either a Canada TRP or Criminal Rehabilitation. Otherwise, they could risk being denied entry when crossing the border. If you have ever been charged with possession of any other controlled drug or were found to possess more than 30 grams of marijuana, you may also be at risk of a border refusal.

Questions about traveling to Canada after a marijuana-related arrest? Message us today for a free consultation.

Marijuana Manufacturing or Distribution

Possession of marijuana with intent to distribute or any charges related to trafficking marijuana (including operating a cannabis dispensary or other marijuana-related business) can render a person inadmissible to Canada. Marijuana production offenses related to the creation or distribution of marijuana edibles, shatter, oils, or extracts can also result in the individual being considered inadmissible to Canada.

Marijuana Laws in Each State

Below we have listed the legality of possession of a small amount of marijuana in each US state. Warning: state cannabis laws are changing extremely fast in the United States at the moment, so even though we will do our best to keep this page updated it may not be fully accurate at any given time. This guide in no way constitutes legal advice and should never be used as a substitute for legal counsel; always consult with a lawyer about your specific situation.

Most marijuana-related convictions other than simple possession will result in a person becoming ineligible to cross the border without a Canada Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Rehabilitation. Regardless of local laws, possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana can result in a person no longer being allowed to enter Canada. Carrying marijuana across state lines, trafficking marijuana, and possession with intent to sell can also render an individual criminally inadmissible to Canada. Convictions for the possession, production, or distribution of many other types of restricted or controlled substances can also cause an American to be refused entrance at the border. In some cases, possession of a pipe or bong can even cause problems when attempting to enter Canada.

Canada recently voted in a new political party and Prime Minister whose election platform included the legalization of marijuana across the country. As a result, marijuana is scheduled to be legalized for recreational usage in Canada in 2018. This will likely change some of the rules related to entering Canada with cannabis-related arrests or convictions, and we will continue to update this page as we get new information. For now, no new laws have been introduced regarding marijuana and Canadian border regulations have not changed.

Have you been criminally convicted or civilly fined for marijuana possession and want to visit Canada? Phone our Canadian immigration lawyer today for a free consultation to discuss your admissibility to Canada.

Alabama - Possession of marijuana for personal use is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $6000 and a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail.

Alaska - Alaska has legalized marijuana. Adults age 21 and older may legally possess up to one 1 ounce of marijuana (and grow as many as six plants).

Arizona - Possession of marijuana is legal only for state medical marijuana permit holders.

Arkansas - Possession of four ounces or less of cannabis is a Class A misdemeanor that can lead to 1-year imprisonment and a fine as large as $2500. In 2016, Arkansas voted to legalize medical marijuana.

California - The state of California has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana. Possession of 1 or less ounces of marijuana is a civil infraction that involves a maximum $100 fine and no jail time. In 2016, California voted to legalize recreational marijuana.

Colorado - Possession of marijuana is legal in the state for adults 21 and older. You can grow up to 6 plants per person, but can only transport 28 grams of weed at once.

Connecticut - The state has decriminalized small amounts of weed except near schools and daycares. Anyone 21 and over can possess up to one-half ounce of marijuana at a time without being criminally charged.

Delaware - Possession of even small amounts of marijuana is illegal in Delaware.

Florida - Possession of <20 grams of marijuana is currently a misdemeanor, and a conviction causes a person's driver's license to be suspended as well. New cannabis laws are expected in Florida soon. In 2016, Florida voted to make medical marijuana legal.

Georgia - Possession of up to 1 oz. of marijuana is a misdemeanor that also results in a driver's license suspension. First-time drug offenders may be eligible for a conditional discharge in the state.

Hawaii - Marijuana is legal for medical use only.

Idaho - Possession of 3 ounces or less of marijuana can result in a misdemeanor conviction resulting in as long as one year behind bars and a fine as large as $1000.

Illinois - Marijuana possession and use is illegal in the state except for medical use.

Indiana - If a person does not have a valid prescription, possession of under 30 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime.

Iowa - Possession of any amount of marijuana is illegal.

Kansas - First possession charge of any amount of marijuana will result in a misdemeanor leading to one year incarceration sentence and a maximum fine of $1000.

Kentucky - Getting arrested with less than 8oz of pot will result in a misdemeanor possession charge.

Louisiana - Marijuana is illegal in this state, and possession is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense.

Maine - Possession of fewer than 2.5 ounces of marijuana is decriminalized in Maine, and is legal in the city of Portland. In 2016, Maine voted to legalize recreational marijuana.

Maryland - As of 2014 this state has decriminalized marijuana, and possession of 10 grams or less results in a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and $500 fine as well as drug treatment for a third offense.

Massachusetts - The state has decriminalized cannabis, and possession of 1 ounce or less is a civil infraction that results in a $100 fine. In 2016, Massachusetts voted to make recreational marijuana legal in the state.

Michigan - Weed is only legal in Michigan for medical use.

Minnesota - The state of Minnesota has decriminalized possession of marijuana less than 42.5 grams, which results in a fine of $200.

Mississippi - Marijuana is decriminalized in this state and possession of <30 grams results in a $250 civil fine.

Missouri - Simple possession of small amounts of cannabis (less than 35g) is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by one-year imprisonment and a fine of $1000 or less.

Montana - Possession of <60g of weed for personal use is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail and a $100-$500 fine. Medical marijuana was legalized in Montana in 2016.

Nebraska - First offense possession of as much as 1oz of pot is treated as a civil infraction (fine up to $300), but becomes a misdemeanor crime for the 2nd and 3rd offenses.

Nevada - Marijuana is decriminalized in Nevada for adults 21 and older, but is a misdemeanor for any person under the age of 21. In 2016, Nevada passed measures legalizing recreational marijuana.

New Hampshire - Possessing marijuana is illegal in the state except for medical purposes.

New Jersey - Pot use is not legal unless done so under the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.

New Mexico - You are only allowed to have weed on you if you are a medical marijuana card holder.

New York - Possession of small amounts of marijuana is decriminalized in New York State provided it is not open to public view.

North Carolina - Bill HB 637 was introduced in April 2013 to decriminalize and allow expungement of 1/2 an ounce (14g) or less of marijuana.

North Dakota - Personal use possession of <1oz of cannabis is a Class A misdemeanor. The state passed measures to legalize medical cannabis in 2016.

Ohio - Small amounts of marijuana have been decriminalized in the state.

Oklahoma - Possession of weed will result in 30 days to 1 year in jail, and possession or making of hashish and brownies can even include life imprisonment.

Oregon - In Nov 2014 marijuana became legal in the state of Oregon and is now regulated for legal possession and sale in certain amounts.

Pennsylvania - If you are arrested by Police with less than 30 grams of marijuana on your person, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and spend up to 30 days in jail.

Rhode Island - Possession of an ounce or less of cannabis in this state is a civil violation in the form of a $150 fine.

South Carolina - Even tiny traces of marijuana are illegal in this state, but if it is an individual's first offense they can complete one year of probation instead of being charged with a crime.

South Dakota - Personal use or possession of 2oz or less of cannabis is a class 1 misdemeanor.

Tennessee - It is a misdemeanor to possess 1/2 ounce or less of marijuana. First-time offenders can fulfill a 1-year supervised probation instead of criminal procedures, however. Possession of more than 14 grams is an automatic felony charge, as is possession for resale.

Texas - Marijuana is illegal in Texas and can result in imprisonment of six months and a fine up to $2000.

Utah - Possession of less than an ounce of pot is a misdemeanor offense in the state.

Vermont - As of 2013, possession of 1 ounce or less has been decriminalized and only results in a civil infraction.

Virginia - A first offense for pot possession is an "unclassified misdemeanor" with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail. Subsequent offenses are Class 1 misdemeanors with maximum prison terms of 12 months. First offenses also qualify for a deferred disposition if the offender participates in a drug assessment, attends addiction classes, and performs community service. It is not possible to expunge even a first-time possession charge in this state, however, meaning it will appear on a person's criminal record for life.

Washington - Marijuana is legal in Washington State, and anyone over the age of 21 can carry up to once ounce on their person. Licensed growers can cultivate marijuana for commercial use, but the state does not allow individuals to grow for personal use except in medical cases.

Washington DC - In November of 2014, the District of Columbia voted to legalize marijuana for personal use. Possession of weed is now a civil violation in the nation's capital with a penalty of only $25 (lower than many parking tickets).

West Virginia - Possession of marijuana without any intent to sell is a misdemeanor in the state.

Wisconsin - Marijuana is illegal in this state, even in tiny amounts.

Wyoming - Being under the influence of marijuana and possession of the drug (under three ounces) are both misdemeanors in the state.

Possession of marijuana is also illegal in all US territories including American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

If you have a marijuana possession arrest or conviction on your record, or you have ever been cited for possession of cannabis in a decriminalized state, and you are interested in traveling to Canada, phone us now for a free consultation.

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