A joint is smoked by a customer at the Lowell Cafe in West Hollywood, California in September, which is America’s first cannabis restaurant. A British legal expert says that Britons who smoke the drug in states where it is legal can be denied entry to the U.S.FREDERIC J. BROWN/GETTY IMAGES
British holiday makers and green card holders can be expelled from the U.S. and denied re-entry because of cannabis consumption, even if they used the drug in a state where it is legal, a London immigration law firm has warned.
There has been a rise in cases of Britons working legally in the U.S. who were deported or denied re-entry because of links to cannabis in states where it is legal, according to the firm Fragomen.
11 states and Washington, D.C. have made the drug legal, however, under U.S. federal law, which classifies cannabis as illegal, foreigners can still be punished.
For instance, if a foreigner was caught along with American citizens smoking cannabis at a party in a state where the drug is now legal, the foreigner could face arrest and deportation and be deemed unfit to re-enter the U.S.
Charlotte Slocombe, a senior partner at Fragomen, told The Guardian: “This is how people get caught out even though they think they are doing something which is now legal in that state.”
“Equally that would include green card holders and those who hold visas to live and work in the US. Even for an American it is federally illegal, but because they are not subject to U.S. federal immigration laws they would not be as vulnerable,” Slocombe added.
Slocombe said that buying cannabis from a legal dispensary that asks for your passport details can be traced by the authorities later.