Recreational and medical marijuana is legal in California, but it’s still a Schedule 1 drug in the eyes of federal law. Under certain circumstances, according to cannabis culture blog the Californian, this means that immigrants are at a higher risk of being deported because of marijuana use:
Immigrant rights activists and attorneys are reminding immigrants of potential consequences at a time when President Donald Trump is ramping up deportation efforts. The White House has said that any immigrant living in the U.S. illegally who has been charged or convicted of any crime, or even suspected of committing a crime, is now an enforcement priority. Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, declined to say how the agency deals with immigrants accused or convicted of marijuana crimes in states where it’s legal. Instead, she reiterated the Department of Homeland Security’s focus on targeting all “removable aliens” who have committed crimes, beginning with those who have been convicted of a criminal offense.
More undocumented immigrants live in California than anywhere else in the US, according to the Orange County Register.
The Californian notes that the Immigrant Legal Resource Center has responded to recent uptick in deportations with a flier that outlines advice for individuals, including:
- Don’t use marijuana until you are a U.S. citizen. Don’t work in a marijuana shop.
- If you have a real medical need and there is no good substitute for medical marijuana, get legal counsel.
- Never leave the house carrying marijuana, a medical marijuana card, paraphernalia (like a pipe), or accessories like marijuana T-shirts or stickers. Don’t have photos or text about you and marijuana on your phone, Facebook, or anywhere else.
- Most important, never admit to any immigration or border official that you ever have used or possessed marijuana, unless you have expert legal advice that this is OK.
California lawmakers are outspokenly against President Trump’s immigration raids, and at the same time, many are outspokenly supportive of the marijuana industry in their state.