Immigration Law

Unless You’re an American Citizen, Legal Marijuana is Not For You

Ann Marie Awad, Colorado Public Radio, Feb. 12, 2018 - "Marijuana may be a multi-billion dollar industry in Colorado, but cannabis is still illegal federally — so any job in the industry can be considered trafficking in a controlled substance.  Normally, this hasn’t been a tricky distinction for the industry’s state-licensed employees, except by one standard.  Their immigration status.  Simply having a job in a dispensary or grow house can get a legal resident, or other immigrant, deported and banned from the U.S., sometimes for life. ... The issue came to their attention through a community partnership with Servicios de La Raza, a nonprofit that offers services to low income people. he two groups then banded together to create a PSA explaining all the ways that involvement with marijuana can get non-citizens thrown out of the country.  Even tourists who stop into a dispensary for a joint during a visit to the Mile High City risk running afoul of customs agents who are increasingly searching phones and social media.  Dean Heizer, the executive director of the LivWell chain of dispensaries, has the PSA playing in the lobby of every one of his stores.  That’s because he’s dealt with this firsthand.  “In anticipation of potential immigration actions by the government, we have preemptively reached out to folks and advised them of the situation, and invariably, when they’ve been advised, they’ve chosen to quit,” he said.  He’s also tweaked LivWell’s hiring process to include an up front disclosure that working for the industry could get you deported.  He has to take that approach, because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prevents employers from asking about an applicant’s immigration status."