Does marijuana possession affect your immigration status?

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2022 | US Immigration Law

Many states have passed laws that legalize marijuana in some form or another. Even Texas permits some people to use the drug medicinally, and recreational marijuana is entirely legal for adults in nearby New Mexico. 

This can make an immigrant believe that possession of marijuana is no big deal – but that would be a critical mistake. If you are an immigrant seeking U.S. citizenship then you need to be careful of your actions around marijuana. Here’s what you should know:

Marijuana can lead to your deportation

Marijuana possession is still a federal crime. Any admission to using marijuana could be considered an indication of poor moral character. Any criminal conviction related to cannabis can be considered a crime of “moral turpitude.” In fact, to protect yourself:

  • Do not work at a marijuana farm, at a facility that produces cannabis products or at a dispensary. Even if the business is legal under state laws, it won’t matter to immigration, 
  • Do not advertise your pro-cannabis stance on your clothing, with stickers on your car, with images on your cell phone or comments on your social media page. You can bet immigration will be looking.
  • Do not apply for a medical marijuana card without advanced legal guidance. Do not discuss past marijuana use (no matter how old) with the authorities.
  • Never put yourself in a position where you risk being caught with the drug. You especially don’t want to take a chance and try to bring some back from New Mexico. That can send you to prison before you’re deported.

Any association with marijuana could mean risking the chance to be with your family or start a new life in the U.S. You should know your options if you fear you’re at risk of deportation.