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Homeland Security Says Cannabis Users Lack ‘Good Moral Character’

April 19, 2019
This guy is judging the 'good moral character' of cannabis consumers? Please.
On the eve of April 20, the global cannabis holiday, officials at the US Department of Homeland Security have issued a policy alert declaring that immigrants applying for naturalized citizenship will be rejected if they admit to consuming state-legal cannabis or work in the legal industry.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency of Homeland Security, issued the memo earlier today to “clarify” that “violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, remains a conditional bar to establishing good moral character (GMC) for naturalization even where that conduct would not be an offense under state law.”

The policy alert was first reported this morning by Marijuana Moment.

In other words, the US Department of Homeland Security has officially declared the nation’s cannabis consumers to be people of bad moral character.

The Department of Homeland Security has declared that more than half of all Americans are not of 'good moral character.'

To be clear, an applicant for naturalization would only have to admit to having sampled cannabis on a single occasion to be barred from citizenship. Meanwhile, the latest studies and surveys indicate that more than half of all Americans have tried cannabis at least once in their lives. Earlier today, CBS News released a new poll that found 65% of all Americans support the adult legalization of cannabis. That’s up from 59% this time last year.

One of former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ most infamous quotes held that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

The Department of Homeland Security has now turned that declaration into official government policy.

In other news, Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth struck a $3.4 billion deal yesterday to purchase Acreage Holdings, the cannabis company partially owned and run by former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner. Acreage currently operates cannabis growing, processing, and retailing operations in 14 states.

Bruce Barcott's Bio Image

Bruce Barcott

Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

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  • Patrick Anderson

    If you want to be federal citizens you have to follow federal law. As long as it is a controlled substance at the federal level this is in line with the law. Don’t like it, fight to legalize it at the federal level or shut up about it.

    • Kraig

      I agree with you Patrick and these policies have been in place for a very long time. The author wants to be divisive (left against right) when the fact is that this was the case under Obama and I haven’t seen the major cannabis raids that happened under him, though I don’t really blame Obama for that. The problem is that cannabis is “federally illegal.” This is what must change. As it currently is people are not immigrating to a “legal state”, they are immigrating into the United States.

    • familyguy

      We are. Voting is a good place to start and hope more people do so this election. Let’s recall one thing cannabis approval is at an all time high at a rate greater than 60%. Yet, no one seems to be listening to the voters especially the republican controlled senate where cannabis disapproval is high. If laws are approved by Congress they still need senate approval. To get a veto proof majority a bill needs 60 votes in the senate that is a difficult task when you have GOP control. The GOP mostly composed of right wing old people that really don’t give a rats rear what voters think until they to be voted out.

      • Patrick Anderson

        Neither party has done much to legalize at the federal level. Dems are fine with state legalization cause they are using it to fill coffers and you are right the GOP is stuck in the dark ages.

  • Jeff Trenkle

    What lacks good moral character are people that need others to not consume a plant native to the planet…

    It is a sad state of affairs when the freedom to legislate consumption controls over others supersedes the freedom to consume…

    I believe that exact opposite… People that attempt to legislate part of nature from existance are of low moral character, and fail to see the disasterous consquences of their totalitarian minded legislation.

  • neroden

    So if you smoked cannabis while you were in Canada, where it’s legal, you’re fine, I presume. Because this is about whether you obeyed US law, which has no jurisdiction outside the US.

  • Devon Wallace

    Alcohol is significantly more harmful and problematic than cannabis by every measure. It is a contributing factor in 40% of ALL violent crime and causes over 80,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone. Cannabis itself does not cause violence, the underground market in which prohibition forces it is associated with violence however. Federal studies question whether cannabis raises crash risk at all, while alcohol raises risk over 20 times.

    Alcohol is a drug that commonly promotes violence, aggression, belligerence, callousness, and overconfidence. Cannabis is a drug that commonly promotes serenity, introspection, caution and empathy. Anyone who morally accepts legal alcohol but not cannabis is either ignorant of these facts (largely due to decades of DEA/NIDA propaganda) or hypocritical.

  • chrisdesa

    Why even amplifi the message? Way to keep the stigma going!

  • familyguy

    Good moral character is the biggest thing lacking in the current administration followed by lack of patriotism.

    • ExpertM16A2

      accusations of “lack of patriotism” coming from a liberal democrat are rich indeed…

  • FlunkedAgain

    Stoners pay taxes, and have Served in the US Military, yet we’re treated like we’re sub-human.

    When Donald Trump shows us his taxes, and the X-Rays of his Bone Spurs then we can see who the Real Americans are.