Immigration, Marijuana Legalization and Criminalization in Illinois
18 months ago, on January 1, 2020, Illinois legalized cannabis use and became the 11th state to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana for adults. Governor J.B. Pritzker announced over 9,000 Illinois marijuana pardons on December 31, 2020, for all low-level pot possession convictions dating back decades – for possession of 30 grams or less. The pardon process is automatic and is being handled by Illinois state police, but it may take up to a year or more for people to see their records cleared. The new law also authorized the Illinois state’s attorneys to consider vacating cases involving up to 500 grams of marijuana.
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.
Expungement and Immigrants
Having a marijuana conviction expunged won’t help immigration cases. Chicago immigration attorney Mario Godoy advises:
“A marijuana conviction must be vacated for constitutional defect to be given legal value in the eyes of the immigration system. An expunged conviction must still be disclosed on a immigration application.”
Non-citizens who are applying for legal immigration status should consult an experienced crimmigration attorney on how to deal with legal and illegal marijuana use, criminal history or marijuana industry work or investment.
What Is A Crimmigration Lawyer?
If you are a non-citizen who has been charged or convicted of marijuana possession, your criminal defense attorney must know both immigration and criminal law so that you don’t lose your Green Card – or face deportation. Immigrants and non-citizens who are charged with marijuana possession – even though marijuana is now legal in Illinois – should be careful to hire a criminal defense attorney with experience in both immigration and criminal law. Crimmigration is the practice of criminal defense law for immigrants and non-citizens by lawyers who understand the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.
Illinois Crimmigration Attorney
Do you have a question about how Illinois’ marijuana laws, expungement and how they affect immigrants and non-citizens? The crimmigration 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 a criminal or immigration issue, please contact our office at 630-912-0322.
AREAS WE SERVE: Godoy Law Office serves the entire Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Lake Counties