Visitor: Please tell me why I would need a pardon for an absolute discharge back in 1997? My wife and I have traveled to the U.S. on many occasions since 1997 and had zero problems until we spent $5000 on a vacation in January of 2019.
We were unable to go on this vacation due to U.S border officials saying there was a charge under my name from 1997 that was unclear to them only that it was drug related. So I was disqualified from going on my trip with my wife, for our 25th anniversary.
Pardons Canada: The Americans do random criminal checks at the US border so you were never checked in the past but it just takes one time when a border official does a criminal check and now you are in their system. No matter how old or how small the offence, they have the right to deny you entry to the US.
You will now need a US Entry waiver or I-194 to return to the US. The Americans are not familiar with absolute or conditional discharges so they assume the worst.