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Will marijuana use lead to deportation?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Drug Crimes

Criminal activity can certainly lead to deportation. Immigrants need to be very aware of the local laws and ensure that they follow them to the best of their ability. This is especially true with crimes of moral turpitude, which are more serious criminal acts that show someone has not upheld the general standards of society. Crimes of moral turpitude – like aggravated assault – are most commonly cited in deportation cases.

So what about something like marijuana? Laws in the United States are very complex and always changing. Many people do not see smoking or possessing marijuana as a serious criminal offense. But if an immigrant is caught with marijuana products, could they be arrested and then deported?

Deportation is possible

Yes, people can be deported for marijuana. This is less common with things like simple possession, where someone is just using the products personally. It is more common if they have a significant amount and they are accused of drug trafficking or distribution. These may be considered crimes of moral turpitude, while mere possession may not. It depends on the details of the unique case.

One thing to remember is that states all get to set their own marijuana laws. Many states have legalized both recreational and medical use, but Kentucky is significantly behind when it comes to marijuana reform. The governor has approved medical marijuana use, but even that doesn’t start until 2025. Recreational use is still illegal, despite its legality in Washington, Colorado, Michigan, Illinois and many other states. Immigrants who have moved between states must remember that the laws could be very different on each side of the border.

Deportation defense options

Immigrants who are concerned about criminal charges and the potential of deportation must be well aware of their defense options. It can help to have an experienced legal team at this time.