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Working in the legal marijuana industry could prevent immigrants from becoming citizens



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To Dennis Romero

When the 4/20 weekend began, nationwide officials issued new guidelines for budding US citizens, stating that working in the cannabis industry, even In states where the drug was legalized, there could be grounds for refusal during the naturalization process.

Observers saw the move on 20.4. the unofficial holiday for cannabis enthusiasts, as a hurdle set up by the Trump administration for new arrivals and not for the emerging marijuana industry in more than 30 states that have legalized some form of drug.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services released the new guidelines on Friday in a statement.

"The policy guidelines … make it clear that an applicant involved in certain activities related to marijuana may not have a good moral character, even if it violates federal law Decriminalized laws, "said the agency, a department of the Department of Homeland Security.

The fine print of the Guidelines states that participation in the cannabis industry "continues to be a conditional restriction on GMC [good moral character] for naturalization, even though such activity is not a criminal offense under state law."

"The Possession of marijuana for recreational or medical purposes or employment in the marijuana industry may constitute a behavior that prohibits naturalization guidelines states.

A cannabis worker trims a cannabis flower on April 4, 2019 at Loving Kindness Farms in Gardena, California. Richard Vogel / AP

"I do not think this is marijuana at all," said Michael Collins, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "I think it's about using the war on drugs to persecute the migrant community, and they've been doing that since the first day."

Collins likened the political guidelines first reported by Marijuana Moment to the perseverance of President Donald Trump on a wall between the United States and Mexico that the President said would stop the flow of drugs into the country ,

"This government has used the war on drugs to persecute the migrant community, from building the wall to connecting with the Wall migrants for minor drug offenses," said Collins.

Earlier this month, Colorado lawyers representing two immigrants who work in the legal marijuana industry accused the Trump government of blocking the couple's naturalization. NBC News turned to USCIS, but did not receive an answer.

"The Department of Homeland Security sees this as another excuse to deport people," said Collins. "To solve this problem, you really need to withdraw the marijuana policy from the federal government."


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