Due to precautions related to COVID-19, we have expanded our options for remote consultations. Please contact our office to discuss whether a phone consultation, video conference or in-person meeting is appropriate for your situation.

Due to precautions related to COVID-19, we have expanded our options for remote consultations. Please contact our office to discuss whether a phone consultation, video conference or in-person meeting is appropriate for your situation.

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Immigrants warned about medical and legalized marijuana

On Behalf of | May 6, 2022 | Immigration News |

The use of marijuana remains a topic of controversy in Illinois. It is true that 36 states, including Illinois, have legalized some forms of the medical use of marijuana. Illinois has also legalized recreational marijuana, subject to conditions. However, the rules are very different for immigrants.

Using marijuana can hurt your immigration status

If you are a recent immigrant to the United States, you need to be wary of marijuana use. The relaxed laws relating to medical and recreational marijuana apply only to naturalized citizens. Marijuana is still considered a controlled substance by the government.

As of 2019, the USCIS has made some key changes to its Practice Manual. This includes the reminder that even newly legal conduct regarding marijuana can be a basis for severe penalties for immigrants. These amendments provide that immigrants who admit use can be denied naturalization.

Immigrants are advised to avoid marijuana

Admitting to the use of marijuana could halt your journey to naturalization. It could even cause you to be removed from consideration or deported. For this reason, immigrants will want to strongly consider whether or not using marijuana is worth it in their situation. This applies even to legal and even medical use.

An admission to having used or possessed marijuana can have permanent consequences. You may be excluded at the border. It may also damage or destroy your eligibility for family immigration.

The reason that the USCIS may give for assigning such a harsh penalty will be a “lack of good moral character.” While debatable in many ways, this judgment still carries legitimate legal weight, and it’s best to avoid the whole scenario if possible.

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