Canada has made cannabis legally available to adults under a strict legal framework. We have also imposed tough new penalties on those who commit cannabis-related crimes, and in December 2018, those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including cannabis.
These penalties will have significant impacts on Canadians and non-Canadians alike. For non-Canadians, including permanent residents, the stakes will be high:
• Not only could they face a fine, criminal charges or even jail, but they may also lose their status and have to leave the country.
• Similarly for temporary residents, including visitors, international students and foreign workers, they may not be able to enter or stay in the country.
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Potential immigration consequences for Canadian permanent residents and temporary residents
• As of October 17, 2018, if a permanent or temporary resident commits a cannabis-related crime, such as illegally producing or selling cannabis, whether in or outside Canada, they could be found inadmissible for serious criminality under our immigration laws.
• Similarly, when the new impaired driving penalties take effect on December 18, 2018, most impaired driving infractions, including in cases where no one is hurt and the minimum fine is imposed, will be considered serious crimes in Canada. As a result, both permanent and temporary residents could be found inadmissible for serious criminality.
If these situations, permanent residents could lose their status and have to leave the country. Similarly, for those who want to visit, study, or work temporarily in Canada, or who are already here temporarily, they may not be able to stay or enter the country.