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USCIS Clarifies Stance on Federal Controlled Substance Law

Posted April 23, 2019Articles

On April 19, 2019, USCIS issued a policy alert clarifying that any violation of federal controlled substance law is a conditional bar to establishing good moral character for naturalization. Naturalization applicants must show that they are a person of good moral character, generally during the five years immediately preceding the application (three years for applicants who received their green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen).

USCIS maintains that despite recent local laws decriminalizing marijuana, federal law classifies marijuana as a "Schedule I" controlled substance and anyone who manufactures, cultivates, possesses, or distributes the drug may face immigration consequences such as failing to meet to good moral character bar.

If you are currently a permanent resident in the naturalization process or are thinking about naturalizing and have questions about how this policy alert may affect you, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung LLC attorney.

Please also see our recent blog post on the potential immigration impact of Canada's legalization of marijuana when travelling through a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint.