Do not use marijuana use as basis for your visa application

Jamaica To Canada

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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Dear Mr Brown,

I understand that recreational marijuana will be legalised in Canada and that Canadians have the constitutional right to have access to marijuana. Could I use that as the basis for getting a visitor's visa?

— TB

Dear TB:

It is true that legislation regarding recreational marijuana received royal assent. The effective legalisation date is October 17, 2018.

Medical marijuana

Court decisions have held that the law prohibiting possession of marijuana is unconstitutional if Parliament has failed to enact a constitutionally acceptable medical marijuana exemption. In other words, if Parliament intends to criminalise possession of marijuana, it can do so only as long as there is a constitutionally acceptable exemption for seriously ill individuals who require marijuana to alleviate symptoms associated with their illness. Moreover, a constitutionally acceptable exemption could not unduly limit reasonable access to marijuana for medical purposes.

Charter of Rights

The blanket prohibition on possession of marijuana violated the section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms pertaining to the right to life, liberty and security of the person, and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

The right to security of the person consists of the rights to privacy of the body and its health, and of the right protecting the psychological integrity of an individual.

The medical marijuana programme in Canada creates a regulatory framework to permit individuals to possess and produce marijuana, as well as encourage research into the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana. It seeks to establish a consistent, reliable, legal source of marijuana for medical purposes in Canada.


On October 17, 2018, I am certain that Canada will enjoy a new wave of tourism, especially from the United States. However, I would not recommend that marijuana use be the basis of your application for a visitor's visa, as your intent may be a cause for concern or scrutiny.

Please note that the more traditional purposes for a visa include:

• business;

• tourism;

• short-term studies; and

• family visit.

Please visit for additional information on Canadian permanent residence programmes, including Express Entry, the Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration and education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to

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