Any pot in­frac­tion means a U.S. ban

RE: Pot par­dons maybe but at the right time (April 27)

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

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


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