The New Policy Memorandum by the Attorney General on Dealing with Marijuana Issues in Immigration.
This new policy does not exist because marijuana is a main target of the Federal government. Its real target is immigration to the United States and immigrants themselves. Marijuana has had a long and negative history since the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act. The laws and stigma that followed have slowly decayed with time to the point that individual states have decriminalized the use of marihuana for medical and/or recreational purposes. This conflicts with the federal regulation of marijuana which still criminalizes it as a schedule I drug. This struggle came to a head during the Obama administration and resulted in the federal government not prosecuting persons engaging in the marijuana business within states that had legalized its use.
With Jeff Sessions as Attorney General the tune significantly changed. Sessions had a personal issue with marijuana and sought to attack its use at every level. His departure from the AG position was a relief in some ways to many within the marijuana industry. This makes the USCIS memo, after Sessions departure, somewhat of a surprise. Why? Because the memo is not one that stems or is rooted in a prohibition of marijuana. It is another attempt by the current administration to attack, frighten and tire those attempting to become legal immigrants in the United States. The long list of policy “changes” by the Trump administration is clear evidence of this.
The Trump immigration policies are: separating families at the border, removing the possibility of a bond for those who have met a credible fear of persecution, an increase in denaturalization filings, changing the rules of asylum to exclude certain particular social groups, immigration judge quotas, elimination of deferred action and prosecutorial discretion within removal (deportation cases), etc.… These are all measures that result in deportation by attrition: scaring immigrants to the point that they do nothing. So, let’s not believe the new “marijuana” policy exists because there is a real concern over this plant as an addictive substance that wreaks havoc in the youth and acts as a gateway drug. No. This policy is another drop in the bucket in the administration´s agenda against immigrants in the United States.
To end with some general advice. If you are not a citizen of the United States and you have in any way been involved within the marijuana industry in Alaska, talk to an immigration lawyer before doing anything regarding your immigration status. If you are part of the Alaska Marijuana industry note that immigrants who may legally purchase marijuana or be employed within the industry are engaging in behavior that will interfere with their immigration status. Therefore, for protection of your enterprise, your employees and your customers, inquire into the immigration consequences they may face on account of owning, working or partaking with anything “marijuana” in Alaska.
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