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Volume XII, Number 181

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Bill Approved by House Legalizing Marijuana Also Would Affect Immigrants

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act passed the House of Representatives on April 1, 2022. If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, the bill would clear marijuana-related convictions from people’s records and remove marijuana from the federal controlled substances list. The bill specifically prohibits the denial of benefits and protections under immigration law based on marijuana related conduct.

Thirty-seven states allow use of medical marijuana and 18 of them allow non-medical use. Canada legalized marijuana in 2018. The legal marijuana industry is clearly growing in the United States, but foreign nationals cannot participate and cannot even invest in these companies without risking immigration consequences. Any foreign nationals, even green card holders, can be barred from returning to the United States or prevented from naturalizing (for at least five years) for participation in the marijuana industry or using marijuana even where it is legal. This is due to the conflict between state and federal laws. Removing marijuana from the federal controlled substance list would eliminate the conflict and eliminate the immigration “penalties” that affect those working in or with the legal marijuana industry.  Without this change in federal law, the United States would find it more difficult to attract high-skilled talent and investments for the legalized marijuana industry from foreign countries – making it harder for the U.S. industry to compete – especially with Canada.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2022National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 97
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About this Author

William J. Manning, Jackson Lewis, Employment Immigration Lawyer, Visa Strategies Attorney
Principal

William J. Manning is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has been advising both U.S. and foreign employers with regard to immigration matters since 1986. Mr. Manning established the Jackson Lewis Immigration practice in 1998.

Mr. Manning’s practice covers all aspects of employment-based immigration into the United States. He works closely with employers to structure their immigration programs and develop long-term visa strategies for key employees. He has extensive experience in...

914-872-6891
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