Non-Citizens in U.S. Must Follow USCIS Guidelines on Marijuana, Regardless of Marijuana State Laws, or Risk Denial of Naturalization

On April 19, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued policy guidance clarifying that non-citizens, including lawful permanent residents (green card holders), who legally use marijuana (for medicinal or recreational purposes) or who work for the marijuana industry may be denied naturalization (U.S. citizenship), even in states where marijuana has been legalized.

Immediate tips regarding marijuana for non-citizens in U.S.

Given the immigration and citizenship consequences of marijuana use, here are some immediate general recommendations for non-citizens:

  • Do not use marijuana, even in states where it is legal to use marijuana.
  • Do not live or associate with individuals who use marijuana, even in states where it is legal to use marijuana and certainly not in states where marijuana use is still illegal.
  • Do not work in the marijuana industry.
  • If you have a medical need and there is no good substitute for medical marijuana, get legal counsel before using or possessing any marijuana.
  • Never leave the house carrying marijuana, a medical marijuana card, paraphernalia (like a marijuana pipe), or accessories like marijuana t-shirts or stickers.
  • Do not have photos or text messages about you and marijuana on your phone, social media, or anywhere else.
  • Never discuss marijuana use or possession with any immigration or border official.
  • If any official (including police or immigration officer) asks you about marijuana, say that you don’t want to talk to them and you want to speak to a lawyer. You have the right to remain silent.

If you have questions of the legal use of marijuana and your goals of U.S. citizenship, please contact the immigration lawyers at Murphy Desmond S.C.

Additional information on this policy can be found here:

https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-issues-policy-guidance-clarifying-how-federal-controlled-substances-law-applies-naturalization-determinations

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/amp/2019/04/uscis-immigrants-linked-to-legal-weed-unfit-for-citizenship.html?fbclid=IwAR3at5Ei5c9D1ydHakr5YfriIZFIlG695oPeqc6gT8R8x4zB1Q3abJGpb50

Published April 23, 2019

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