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Marijuana was once illegal on a federal level and in every state. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Over time, more states have made marijuana use legal within their own states.Currently in California, anyone over 18 can use marijuana with a doctor’s prescription, and anyone over 21 may use it for fun. However, the federal law has not changed. Marijuana is still illegal and banned in national places, like airports and military bases. It cannot be brought across state borders. The federal government has chosen not to prosecute marijuana users in states where it’s legal if they follow the marijuana law in that state.

Because immigration is governed by federal law, USCIS expects immigrants to obey federal laws, which means USCIS expects immigrants to avoid marijuana. You could be rejected for asylum if you admit to using marijuana or if you have ever been arrested anywhere in the United States for a crime related to marijuana use.

Marijuana Use in California

In California it is illegal to use marijuana before operating a vehicle. Unlike alcohol, there is no allotted minimum amount one can consume before driving. Furthermore, smoking marijuana is banned wherever cigarette smoking is also banned, i.e schools, hotels, and hospitals.

What about Medical Use?

Currently, federal law doesn’t make an exception for medical marijuana use. You can get a medical marijuana card, but obtaining one alerts the federal government of your marijuana usage.

However, you can use CBD, a marijuana product that doesn’t cause a “high.” Legal CBD products shouldn’t contain more than .3% THC, the chemical that causes the high. CBD products are sold in dispensaries and other places.They must be clearly labeled with the amount of THC.

If You Are at Risk of Losing Asylum Due to Marijuana, Contact a Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer Today

If you have been convicted of a crime related to marijuana while residing in the United States, you are at risk of being rejected for asylum. Thus, it is in your best interest to avoid usage and handling of marijuana and consult with a Los Angeles immigration lawyer for sound legal counsel and best course of action.

The Law Office of Finnegan & Diba is a leading immigration law firm in Los Angeles, ready to help you navigate the very complex immigration process. For further information or to schedule a consultation with one of our expert immigration lawyers, please contact The Law Office of Finnegan & Diba at (213) 480-0292 or visit to learn more.

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