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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued policy guidance providing clarification that violations of federal controlled substance law are generally a bar to establishing good moral character for naturalization, regardless of whether or not it would not be an offense under state laws. As an example, the policy guidance clarifies that an applicant for naturalization who is involved in certain marijuana-related activities may be deemed as lacking good moral character if they are found to have violated federal law, even if such activities have been decriminalized under certain state laws.

Although several states have enacted laws to decriminalize the manufacture, possession, distribution, and use of both medical and non-medical marijuana in their respective jurisdictions, federal law classifies marijuana as a “Schedule I” controlled substance. This classification deems the manufacture (which includes production, such as planting, cultivation, growing, or harvesting), distribution, dispensing, or possession of marijuana as a federal violation, which may lead to immigration consequences.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding this matter.