The law is not equal for everyone when it comes to marijuana possession. That’s the message immigration lawyer Erin Jacobsen is sharing with Vermonters before adult possession and consumption of recreational marijuana becomes legal on July 1.
“Because marijuana is still a controlled substance, and immigration is governed by federal law, it doesn’t really matter what the states are doing about marijuana,” said Jacobsen, assistant professor and supervising attorney at Vermont Law School‘s South Royalton Legal Clinic.
Using, possessing and selling marijuana or being involved in the marijuana industry could have negative immigration consequences for non-U.S. citizens, Jacobsen said. They risk not being readmitted into the country, having their green card or citizenship application rejected, losing a U.S. visa, or deportation. “It’s really crucial that people understand what’s at stake for noncitizens,” said Jacobsen.
As a panelist at the student-organized Know Your Rights March workshop in Burlington for youth of color, Jacobsen spoke about the citizenship process in general. She also distributed flyers