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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawK-1 Visas: Can Marijuana Usage Impact Applications?

K-1 Visas: Can Marijuana Usage Impact Applications?

Transcript of the above video:

In this video, as the title suggests we are talking about the K-1 fiancée visa and specifically the issue of marijuana. 

Now marijuana, cannabis if you will, has been of increasing interest and is increasingly newsworthy in the United States as a result of various jurisdictions either decriminalizing marijuana, fully legalizing marijuana, especially recreational marijuana; the state of Colorado comes to mind with respect to that, or jurisdictions like California where medical marijuana is legal.  Now, you have to keep in mindม Federal Law remains the same as it has been for quite some time which basically stipulates that marijuana is considered a highly regulated drug and illegal possession or usage of it is considered a violation of Federal law notwithstanding the fact that again it is a Federal system in the United States, states may allow it but the Feds may not. This can have tremendous ramifications in an Immigration context which I will get to here in a moment.  Another thing to keep in mind is this is of increasing concern, in my opinion, to those who are seeking K-1 Fiancée visas from here in the Kingdom of Thailand because Thailand has recently promulgated legislation which will relax regulation of certain types of cannabis and cannabis products. Most notably, Thailand is also rolling out a medical marijuana regime which will have wide-ranging ramifications down the road and we have done other videos on this channel specifically on that topic. 

The thing to take away from this video today is how does marijuana interplay with the Immigration process?  Well first of all, keep couple of things in mind.  An immigrant is subject to US Federal as well as State Law and for that reason, the immigrant in question needs to be aware that marijuana and usage thereof, possession thereof etc. remains a legal ground of inadmissibility to the United States and it is not conviction alone that rises to the threshold of inadmissibility.  What I mean to say by this is someone who has admitted for example in open court to having possessed a certain amount of marijuana or used marijuana could have inadmissibility ramifications brought against them because the mere act of possession or the mere act of usage may rise to the level of being a legal ground of inadmissibility notwithstanding the fact that an individual may have never been tried and convicted of an offense involving marijuana or cannabis.  

The other thing to keep in mind is those that apply for visas abroad, specifically for example here in Bangkok, there is a medical examination requirement which is undertaken by a Civil Surgeon that is accredited by the Embassy here in Thailand and that Civil Surgeon specifically is tasked with ascertaining whether or not the individual seeking admission to the United States has a drug problem and for this reason experimentation or should I say usage of marijuana could be a serious, serious problem for those who are applying abroad; specifically from here in Thailand wherein, in the future we may see a regime where marijuana and cannabis products may be perfectly legal in Thailand but under US Federal Law may remain not only illegal, but it also may remain a legal ground of inadmissibility pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. I could even see in theory it's a bit far-fetched, but a circumstance wherein maybe the Federal Law changes but the Immigration Law hasn't changed and it remains an illegal ground of inadmissibility I would presume for a fairly short period of time while the laws are being changed on Immigration with respect to marijuana. 

The point of this video if you are looking to go to the United States and immigrate there or if you are in the United States as an immigrant in K status or adjusting your status, you really need to seriously consider "do I want to deal with the adverse consequences of ingesting cannabis or marijuana when those adverse consequences could result in deportation and a bar from the United States in my proceedings in whatever situation I am in.” So in a K-1 scenario “do I really want to be dealing dabbling in marijuana here in Thailand when I have a pending K-1 application and if you are in the United States waiting for adjustment of status or even in Green Card status waiting for, for example, a list of conditions or maybe even a naturalization to process, do you really want to have to deal with the adverse consequences of marijuana in your Immigration case?” In my opinion, frankly, it is probably prudent to just stay away from the matter altogether unless you are a US citizen and even then there is still a lot of ambiguity with respect to the interplay between Federal and State Laws on the issue of marijuana.