Involvement With Marijuana Grounds for Denying Citizenship

(Flickr/Martin Alonso)

WASHINGTON, DC — Those applying for US citizenship may be denied if they have personally used marijuana, or if they have been employed in the cannabis industry — including in jurisdictions where such activities are legally authorized, according to a newly released guidance memo by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency.

The memo opines that any involvement with marijuana is indicative of a lack of “moral character.” Moral character is a prerequisite for people seeking US citizenship.

“[The] violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, established by a conviction or admission, is generally a bar to establishing GMC (good moral character) for naturalization even where the conduct would not be a violation of state law,” the updated language states. “This guidance … is controlling and supersedes any prior guidance on the topic.”

The USCIS is a branch of the US Department of Homeland Security.

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