Immigrants are being denied US citizenship for smoking legal pot


Immigrants are getting caught between federal and state marijuana laws.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency in charge of processing visa and citizenship applications, has been rejecting immigrants who work for the marijuana industry or have admitted to using the drug in states where it’s legal, immigration lawyers and advocates say.

It’s yet another example of how the contradiction between state and federal laws is spilling over beyond issues related to the legal marijuana industry itself. While 33 US states and the District of Columbia allow some kind of pot use, the drug remains illegal when it comes to any kind of federal matter, including green cards and naturalization.

Friction between federal and local authorities has been increasing under the Trump administration, which is less tolerant than its predecessor when it comes to both immigrants and local pot laws.

Yesterday, USCIS issued a bulletin (pdf) underscoring that marijuana use is a disqualifying factor in citizenship applications, regardless of whether it’s legal locally.

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