The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued a new guideline that may get immigrants barred from applying for US citizenship if they are discovered possessing or using marijuana. The new guidelines also state that even employment in the marijuana industry can affect the naturalization process of an immigrant.
Marijuana use in the US is slowly being legalized by more and more states for both medicinal and recreational purposes. However, it seems like immigrants will be completely left out from the benefits of marijuana legalization since it remains a Schedule I controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
How Can Marijuana Affect the Naturalization Process for Immigrants?
Since possession, cultivation or distribution of even small amounts of marijuana remains illegal under federal law due to it being classified as a controlled substance, being discovered with marijuana can have severe immigration consequences. These activities may be legal in some states, however, they remain illegal for immigrants who want to apply for US citizenship.
To obtain US citizenship, an immigrant is required to apply for the naturalization process. One of the requirements for eligibility for this process is that the applicant must demonstrate that they are of good moral character by having a clean record in the last 5 years before applying.
Being involved in any of the above-mentioned activities related to marijuana is classified as a federal misdemeanor. Even giving marijuana to another person can qualify as trafficking.