Any pot infraction means a U.S. ban
RE: Pot pardons maybe but at the right time (April 27)
Contrary to Howard Elliott’s statement that, “… the vast majority of recent simple possession charges are resulting in fines with no criminal record attached,” the criminal record does indeed show that the person who received the fine was either “convicted” or was given a “conditional discharge” (not a conviction) and a term of probation and that a fine be paid. In the case of a conditional discharge, the record may be expunged — eventually — but here’s the rub: as far as the United States is concerned, no person convicted of a drug offence is admissible. So, a simple fine is a conviction and makes the person inadmissible to the U.S. And the United States considers a conditional discharge to be a conviction, despite Canadian law saying it isn’t. And pardons don’t erase the offence as far as the U.S. is concerned, either.
What all this means is that a person who pays a fine, whether as punishment upon conviction or as part of a probation order imposed under a conditional discharge is inadmissible to the United States. That’s a pretty high price to pay when the border is about an hour away if one drives, and means that the person can’t visit New York City, L.A., Florida, or points in between. With legalization on the way, why should anyone now be caught up in this forever prohibition to enter the United States. Suzie Scott, Hamilton