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Can you have a medical marijuana card if you’re an immigrant?

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2024 | IMMIGRATION & NATURALIZATION - Criminal Defense

Despite the sea change that has swept the United States when it comes to public perceptions about the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, Florida has been slow to change its laws. The state’s medical marijuana program only permits certain people to obtain the drug through dispensaries with a physician’s authorization.

If you’re an immigrant who hasn’t been naturalized as a U.S. citizen, however, you still need to steer clear – even if you have a qualifying condition that would otherwise permit you to obtain a medical marijuana card.

Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level

One of the primary reasons for restricting medical marijuana cards for immigrants without citizenship is the federal stance on cannabis. Despite the growing acceptance of marijuana at the state level, the drug still remains illegal under federal law. Non-citizens, including those with legal immigration status, are subject to federal regulations that make the use of a controlled substance “a crime of moral turpitude” and a deportable offense.

So, even though you might think that by applying for a medical marijuana card you are going through a process that makes it legal for you to obtain and use cannabis, you could be setting yourself up for a serious immigration battle. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) scrutinizes an applicant’s moral character, and any history of drug use, even for medicinal purposes, may be viewed unfavorably. In essence, having that medical marijuana card is just proof that you have committed a deportable crime.

Immigration laws are very complex, and the intersection between immigration and criminal law can be doubly so. If you find yourself in trouble that could put your future as an immigrant in this country in danger, it is wise to seek experienced legal guidance right away.