This is a question that comes up often. The consumption of marijuana has become a controversial topic in the United States in recent years, particularly due to the ongoing process of legalization in several states.  However, the situation becomes more complex when it comes to the rights and restrictions of non-U.S. citizens in the country.  This blog will examine the question: Can I get deported from the United States for smoking marijuana?  At, it’s a question we get asked quite often.

Federal vs. State Laws

To answer this question, it’s essential to first understand the distinction between federal and state laws in the United States.  While many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use to varying degrees, it remains a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, as outlined in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  As a result, marijuana use is still presently illegal at the federal level.

Immigration Law and Marijuana Use

Since immigration is a federal matter, the use of marijuana by non-U.S. citizens can have significant consequences on their immigration status.  In 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy alert, clarifying that the use of marijuana, even in states where it is legal, can constitute a violation of federal law and may lead to severe immigration consequences.  These consequences can include denial of naturalization, denial of admission or re-entry, and even deportation.

Deportation Risks

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), non-U.S. citizens can be deported for various reasons, including engaging in criminal activity or violating the terms of their visa.  While a single instance of marijuana usage will not likely result in deportation, it could lead to complications, particularly if an individual is arrested or convicted for marijuana-related offenses.

For example, a non-U.S. citizen can be deported for committing an aggravated felony, which includes drug trafficking.  A drug trafficking conviction does not require proof of sale or distribution; possession of a certain amount of marijuana can be considered sufficient evidence of intent to distribute.  This means that non-U.S. citizens found with large quantities of marijuana, even in states where it’s legal, could be at risk of deportation.

Additionally, any non-U.S. citizen who is convicted of a crime involving a controlled substance, including marijuana, can be deemed inadmissible to the United States.  This can impact their ability to obtain or renew a visa, or to apply for lawful permanent residency (a green card).  It’s crucial to note that even a misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction can result in such consequences.  Furthermore, non-U.S. citizens who admit to using marijuana, regardless of whether they were convicted, can also be deemed inadmissible.  This is because the immigration statutes consider any violation of controlled substance laws, including admitting to using marijuana, as grounds for inadmissibility.

Mitigating Factors

While the risks outlined above are genuine, it is important to recognize that each case is unique, and the outcome depends on the specific circumstances.  Immigration officers and judges have some discretion in determining whether to pursue deportation or deny an application for immigration benefits.  They can consider factors such as the severity of the offense, the individual’s ties to the United States, and the potential hardship that deportation would cause to the individual or their family.  If you find yourself facing potential deportation over some type of drug charge, it’s extremely important to get the possible immigration lawyer to assist you.  The law can be complicated and the consequences severe.  Accordingly, having experienced representation can make the difference between deportation and remaining in the United States.

Get The Help You Need

In conclusion, the use of marijuana by non-U.S. citizens in the United States can lead to severe immigration consequences, including deportation.  While state laws may permit marijuana use, immigration is a federal matter, and federal law still considers marijuana to be an illegal controlled substance.  Non-U.S. citizens should be aware of these risks and make informed decisions about marijuana use.  To mitigate the risk of deportation and other immigration consequences, non-U.S. citizens should consult with an experienced immigration attorney, particularly if they have been arrested or convicted for marijuana-related offenses.

At we have the experience and knowledge to help persons facing the most significant immigration issues.  Get in touch with us today and let us help you if you’re facing an immigration issue and need legal help.  Our team of lawyers and support staff have dealt with practically every type of immigration issue. We can also help you.  Call us today or get in touch through this website.

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