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How marijuana use can affect citizenship applications

Immigrants in Tennessee who want to become U.S. citizens should avoid any contact with the pot industry, even if it involves going to states where it is legal. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a policy alert on April 19 saying that purchasing or selling marijuana at shops that are state regulated can indicate a lack of "good moral character."

This notion of moral character is one factor that officials are permitted to consider when deciding whether to grant citizenship. However, an attorney in Alaska has pointed out that community standards should also be a guide. Since marijuana is legal where he lives, he says that it is not a moral issue and shouldn't hinder a citizenship application. However, he also says that any involvement in the industry can introduce significant complications, and immigrants should probably avoid it altogether.

Another attorney said that one of his clients experienced some problems after admitting to smoking two joints in Mexico. Authorities have used this information to call her character into question. According to the USCIS, since marijuana is illegal on a federal level, the agency must abide by those laws. The woman's attorney says federal law is out of touch with what is happening on a societal level.

An individual who is considering applying for citizenship or has other immigration-related issues may want to consult an attorney about their rights. Immigration law is undergoing rapid changes, so the experiences of friends or family members who have been through the process may no longer be relevant. An attorney might be able to assist in preparing any necessary documentation. If a court appearance is required, the attorney could accompany the client.

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