Marijuana and non-citizens — Darius Amiri, immigration law chair at Rose Law Group, sheds light

By Darius Amiri, Rose Law Group Immigration Dept. Chair

Now that Prop 207, Arizona’s Recreational Marijuana law, has passed and recreational licenses are being distributed, there is naturally a lot of buzz surrounding the topic of legal possession and use of marijuana and other cannabis products.

As an Immigration lawyer, I am often approached by clients or prospective clients about their rights to partake in marijuana on a recreational or medicinal level, and sometimes in regards to business opportunities in the cannabis field.

I hate to be a buzzkill, but there are still major concerns for anyone who is not a U.S. citizen who would like to participate, whether casually or on a business level, in the marijuana space.

Recall that Prop 207 legalizes the possession and use of marijuana for adults (ages 21 or older) in Arizona. Individuals are also permitted to grow no more than six marijuana plants in their residences so long as the plants are within a lockable, enclosed area, and beyond public view.

That being said, marijuana remains listed on Schedule 1 of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, and because immigration law is federal law, regardless of whether a state has legalized recreational use of marijuana, the possession, consumption, or sale of marijuana by a non-citizen remains extremely problematic in the area of immigration law, and could result in a finding of inadmissibility- for someone seeking to enter the United States, or deportability- for someone currently inside the United States.

Therefore, while a non-citizen may find themselves green with envy at these restrictions, my advice would be that the stakes are just too high. For more information on the interplay between Prop 207 and Immigration law, or any Immigration related inquires, please feel free to reach out to me at Darius@roselawgroup.com, or check out our website.

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