New Legislation Would Stop Denial of Citizenship Based on Cannabis Use

A new proposed piece of legislation would change the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow the naturalization of new citizens despite their past cannabis use. 

Representative Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania introduced the bill to the Federal House of Representatives this week. HR 1614 would remove cannabis offenses from the list of things that make it inadmissible to gain citizenship. 

In the past, despite the growing acceptance of cannabis in the U.S. and elsewhere, cannabis possession could keep someone out of the country for good. 

“Have You Ever Been A Habitual Drunkard?”

The bill, which would serve “to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide that marijuana use, possession, and distribution may not be considered for determinations of whether a person is a person of good moral character, and for other purposes,” would be a major step forward for the citizenship process. 

“As applicants go through the Green Card and/or naturalization process, they currently encounter questions that ask, ‘Have you ever been a habitual drunkard?’, or for details about an applicant’s level of marijuana use,” Boyle said. “These questions are wholly unrelated to citizenship, and only serve to reinforce societal stigmas connected to alcohol and substance abuse. It is extremely

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