There is some serious disconnect between state and federal law when it comes to marijuana. Â Although it is legal to smoke marijuana in many United states, it is still a Schedule I federally controlled substance. Â And, even more importantly for immigrants, it makes you inadmissible if you are trying to be admitted to the U.S. and deportable if you already have a green card. Â There is an exception. Â You are not deportable if it is a single offense involving possession for your own use of 30 grams or less.
How does this play out? Â You are at a U.S. port of entry and are referred to secondary inspection. Â Officers are searching your wallet, your luggage and cell phone and are finding photos of a marijuana dispensary, or a medical marijuana card or other evidence that you may have at least tried marijuana. Â They will then put you under oath and ask you if you’ve ever tried marijuana. Â When you admit it, you are turned away or placed in deportation proceedings.
It’s a harsh lesson but one that needs to be heeded.
Hart Immigration provides immigration services in Los Angeles, Orange County, and surrounding areas.