Government says marijuana involvement can derail citizenship

PHOENIX — Immigration authorities on Friday said that anyone with any involvement with marijuana, regardless of whether it's legal in the state they live in, can be denied from citizenship because the drug is still outlawed by federal law.

The announcement comes weeks after officials in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal, began warning residents that working for a marijuana dispensary or manufacturing operation could jeopardize their citizenship bid — even if those jobs are state-sanctioned.

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The updated guidance from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states that people who use marijuana or are involved with it in any way fail to have "good moral character," a prerequisite for people who have legal permanent residence to gain American citizenship.

About two-thirds of states allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and 10 allow recreational use. Washington, D.C., also allows recreational use.

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