Can smoking a joint interfere with your immigration case? Across the United States, drug laws are rapidly changing when it comes to common “soft” substances like cannabis. As of 2021, 36 states and the District of Columbia permit medical use, and 18 states and D.C. permit recreational use for adults. With nearly half the country relaxing regulations, can soft drug possession still lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport immigrants?
The answer to this question is not always straightforward. While soft drug possession has led to thousands of immigrant deportations in the past, the ongoing progression of laws and the unique circumstances of each person’s case can lead to a variety of individual outcomes. With that said, consequences can be severe, so you should take things seriously if you are facing charges.
ICE has deported thousands for cannabis possession
Despite the growing number of state laws that allow adults to possess soft drugs like cannabis, even this kind of possession is still a felony in the eyes of the federal Department of Homeland Security. Between 2007 and 2012 ICE deported more than 34,000 immigrants for cannabis possession.
You may have options
While this may be discouraging and scary to hear, the good news is that drug laws and public attitudes are changing. Although federal laws have not kept up, the circumstances of your case and the current legal climate may allow you to have more options than you realize.
If you are facing the threat of deportation due to a possession charge for a soft drug like cannabis, do not lose hope.