April 19, 2019

”  …even if using marijuana may be legal for you under state law, engaging in such conduct remains a violation of U.S. federal and immigration law.”                            
Despite many states and some countries (such as Canada) legalizing the medical and/or recreational use of marijuana, in a policy memorandum (See: https://bit.ly/2Grl8dX ), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reaffirms its long-standing policies against the use of marijuana. The policy states:

Since 1996, a number of states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to decriminalize the cultivation, possession, distribution, and use of both medical and non-medical (recreational) marijuana in their respective jurisdictions. However, federal law classifies marijuana as a “Schedule I” controlled substance whose manufacture, cultivation, possession, or distribution may lead to criminal and immigration consequences.

In other words, even if using marijuana may be legal for you under state law, engaging in such conduct remains a violation of U.S. federal and immigration law, carrying severe immigration consequences. Almost any drug offense will render a person inadmissible or deportable from the U.S.

Business investors seeking work and investment visas also cannot engage in any business activities involving the use, sell, or distribution of marijuana. The business is considered illegal under U.S. federal and immigration law. Not only will the visa applicant be denied a visa, he/she may be banned from applying for a visa in the future as a “drug user” or “drug trafficker”.

Visa applicants or anyone seeking benefits from USCIS should not joke about the use of marijuana or post any related comments or photos on social media. USCIS and consulate officers are known to conduct investigation into an applicant’s social media for any illegal conduct or immigration violations. Individuals who have received a medical marijuana card should immediately discard and cancel such registration.

U.S. immigration officers do not take the use of marijuana lightly and will swiftly deny an application and refer the applicant for deportation if such conduct is discovered. The use of marijuana is no laughing matter in the context of U.S. immigration.

If you have any additional question, please do not hesitate to contact Jared Leung of the Immigration Practice Group at Davis Miles McGuire Gardner at jleung@davismiles.com or 480-344-4577.