By: Amber Blacharski

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has denied at least two Denver residents U.S. citizenship for working in the Cannabis industry on the grounds of being "unable to demonstrate that they are a person of good moral character." In response, Denver's Mayor advocates for this injustice by writing a letter to the U.S. Attorney General.

Why are legal immigrants working in the cannabis industry being denied U.S. Citizenship?

Cannabis, also known as Marijuana to the Federal Government, is classified as a Schedule I Substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and is illegal to manufacture, cultivate, posses, or distribute. The USCIS, also a Federal Government agency must uphold and abide by federal laws. Furthermore, on April 19th, 2019, the USCIS released aPolicy Alertclarifying Controlled Substance-Related Activity and Good Moral Character Determinations. This new policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual states, “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.”

Denver's Mayor, Michael Hancock, Advocates for Legal Immigrants and Denver Residents Working in the Cannabis Industry

After a round table discussion with two permanent U.S. and Denver residents denied U.S. citizenship, Denver's Mayor, Michael Hancock’s response was a letter to the U.S. Attorney General William Barr. In the letter obtained by ABC news, he writes, "Denver believes hardworking and law-abiding immigrants should be allowed to participate in the legal cannabis industry without fear that such participation will disqualify them for lawful residency in the United States or prevent the opportunity to obtain permanent citizenship. We respectfully request that the U.S. Department of Justice uphold Colorado’s states' rights by respecting our voters and providing guidance to all DOJ employees clearly indicating that legal immigrants shall not be penalized for working in the legitimate cannabis industry. Denver understands the need for federal laws and regulations regarding citizenship and immigration, but we are seeing the heartbreaking effects that those federal laws and regulations are having on our residents."

Quick Fact

Curing Cannabis Plants- This very gradual drying process involves moderate humidity and mild temperatures, preserving the dimensionality of cannabis plants and the consumption experience. The better and more gradual the curing process, the more sophisticated a grower's yields become, including preserved aromas, flavors, and potency.