Marijuana Would Not Count Against Immigrants’ ‘Good Moral Character’ Under New Congressional Bill

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An immigrant’s admission to prior marijuana use could no longer be used to deny them U.S. citizenship under a new congressional bill. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) filed the legislation on Monday. It addresses a part of federal immigration policy that concerns establishing “good moral character” as part of a naturalization application. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a person who admits to using cannabis—even in compliance with state law—is morally unfit for citizenship. The agency clarified that position in a 2019 memo, adding that employment in a state-legal marijuana market is another factor that could impact a person’s immigration status. The congressman’s bill, which was first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, specifically carves out an exemption for applicants who admit to having used, possessed or distributed cannabis. It would also remove another stigmatizing question—“Have you ever been a habitual drunkard?”—from the naturalization form. “These questions are wholly unrelated to citizenship,” Boyle said in a press release. “It is extremely troubling to see federal applications like this that continue to use a harsh and antiquated term such as ‘habitual drunkard.’” “Moreover, prospective citizens should not be penalized for relatively harmless and non-criminal offenses,” he added. “This careless language only serves to reinforce societal stigmas and misunderstandings about substance abuse, and it is time we modernize the process.” Immigrants who have been denied visas or deported due only to a cannabis-related offense would be allowed to reapply or having their documents reinstated under the bill, which has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. — Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 800 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments. Learn…

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Source : Marijuana Would Not Count Against Immigrants’ ‘Good Moral Character’ Under New Congressional Bill

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