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Can I be denied citizenship for smoking marijuana in a legal state?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2021 | immigration |

As more and more states legalize marijuana, you might be wondering what that means for citizenship status. Recreational marijuana use is legal in California and several other states, but it’s not legal on a federal level yet. So if you smoke marijuana in a legal state, will it hurt your chances of citizenship?

Marijuana usage can hurt your citizenship chances

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a guidance that barred immigrants from being able to obtain citizenship if they have used marijuana or been found in possession of it. This guidance still applies to immigrants who live in a state where marijuana has been legalized.

Even if you don’t buy marijuana or use it, your job can have an impact too. Immigrants who are employed in the legal cannabis or marijuana industry might not be able to gain citizenship either.

How would immigration services know?

You won’t be arrested for having, buying, or using marijuana in a legal state like California. So how would anyone find out if you use it? Marijuana use or possession might get back to immigration services if you:

  • Get pulled over with marijuana in your car
  • Are questioned by police while under the influence of marijuana
  • Test positive for marijuana on a drug test from your work
  • Found to be in possession or are under the influence of marijuana on federal property

Reach out to an attorney today

To become a citizen of the US, you have to have a record of being a good moral character for at least 5 years. If using marijuana in a legal state is your only offense against that claim, you might benefit from reaching out to an immigration attorney to discuss your options.