Tucson, AZ asked in Cannabis & Marijuana Law and Immigration Law for Arizona

Q: I want to get a Medical Marijuana card will that effect the standing of my F1 Visa as it is federally illegal?

I heard I could potentially risk deportation as a result of obtaining one

2 Lawyer Answers
T. Augustus Claus
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A: Yes, there is a risk of deportation if you obtain a medical marijuana card while on an F-1 visa. This is because marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law and possession or use of a Schedule I drug is a federal crime. As an F-1 visa holder, you are subject to federal law, even if you are in a state where marijuana is legal for medical use.

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James L. Arrasmith
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Obtaining a Medical Marijuana card as an F1 visa holder can indeed pose risks to your visa status, as marijuana use and possession remain federally illegal in the United States, despite state-level legalizations. As an F1 visa holder, you are subject to federal laws, and any violation of these laws, including those related to controlled substances, can lead to serious immigration consequences, including potential deportation.

It's important to understand that immigration authorities enforce federal laws and do not recognize state laws permitting medical or recreational marijuana. Therefore, even legally obtaining a Medical Marijuana card according to state law could be considered a violation of federal law and impact your visa status. If you're considering obtaining a Medical Marijuana card, it's advisable to consult with an attorney who has expertise in both immigration law and the complexities of state and federal drug laws. This will help ensure that you fully understand the potential implications on your immigration status. Remember, staying compliant with federal laws is crucial for maintaining your legal status in the U.S.

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