On Wednesday, December 11th, a press conference was held at the National Immigrant Justice Center on the issue of marijuana legalization in Illinois and the impact on immigrants anon non-citizens. It’s important that immigrants understand the immigration consequences related to Illinois’ new marijuana laws, marijuana use and the consequences for employment or investment in the marijuana industry for non-U.S. Citizens.
Illinois became the 11th state to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana for adults in July, and the sale and use of recreational marijuana beginning in 2020. However, despite Illinois legalization of the purchase and use of cannabis for recreational purposes, marijuana is still a federally banned drug:
Immigration officials can take marijuana use, investment or work into account in denying U.S. entry or applications for legal permanent residency known as green cards. Some could face detention or deportation.
The Illinois law will also expunge criminal records for marijuana arrests and convictions, but the expungement of your marijuana conviction won’t help immigration cases.
Chicago immigration attorney Mario Godoy and The National Immigrant Justice Center advise “non-citizens not to partake, admit use or carry documentation such as a receipt, because it could hurt their cases. They extended the warning to U.S. citizens who live in mixed status households for the same reason.”
Non-citizens who are applying for legal immigration status should consult an experienced immigration attorney on how to deal with legal and illegal marijuana use, criminal history or marijuana industry work or investment.
Do you have a question about how Illinois’ new marijuana laws affect immigrants and non-citizens? The attorneys at Chicago’s Godoy Law Office fight for the rights of immigrants in Illinois and help immigrants navigate the complex and numerous immigration policies, procedures, and regulations. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 855.554.6369.