There are a dozen states that have made recreational marijuana use legal. Despite nearby states like Colorado, Illinois and Michigan doing so, it does not look like Minnesota will legalize soon. While prosecutors and law enforcement are less apt to pursue charges than the ‘80s and ‘90s, legal noncitizens can jeopardize their immigration status or the potential for getting a visa.

So, while citizens may get a warning or a fine, immigrants could face:

  • Deportation or removal
  • Bar to Re-Entry
  • Denial of Naturalization
  • Renewal or upgrade problems

Immigration experts recommend

Immigrants should be mindful of their situation and not jeopardize their status with reckless behavior. Immigration experts recommend the following:

  • Avoid all marijuana use until they are a citizen.
  • Seek legal guidance if prescribed medical marijuana.
  • Do not carry marijuana, display it on shirts or stickers, and destroy any photo evidence of use.
  • Do not work in the industry, even if it is in a state where it is legal.
  • Never discuss marijuana use with federal officials.

A criminal law attorney can provide guidance

Instead of using an immigration lawyer, immigrants caught consuming marijuana need to get a criminal defense attorney with experience handling drug charges. These legal professionals understand the laws and how the criminal courts work here in Minnesota, which can lead to a more positive outcome. Those with questions about their situation should contact an attorney as soon as possible. This approach enables the attorney more time to devise the most effective legal defense possible.