Working in the marijuana industry would no longer be a valid reason to block citizenship applications for immigrants or deny government-backed home loans to military veterans under new bills introduced on Wednesday by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, is teaming up with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) on the proposals.
The first bill from the bipartisan duo would add an exemption to current immigration policy so that working at a marijuana business in accordance with state law would not be considered grounds to deny naturalization.
In April, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a memo clarifying that engaging in cannabis-related activities, even if legal under local policy, means they do not have “good moral character” and are therefore unfit for citizenship.
“No one should have to worry about being denied naturalization for working in their state’s legal cannabis industry,” Warren said in a press release. “Our bipartisan bill would ensure that outdated federal cannabis laws don’t block the pathway to citizenship for those seeking it through naturalization.”
“Under current law, individuals are deemed to lack ‘good moral character’ and denied American citizenship due to their work in the legal cannabis industry in states like Colorado and Massachusetts. This has to stop,” Gardner added. “Currently 95 percent of Americans are living in states with laws allowing some form of cannabis. The dramatically expanded cannabis industry presents real challenges for our nation, and I’m proud to be working with Senator Warren to address these issues.”
The second new bill says that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) “may not use the fact that [a veteran’s] income is derived, in whole or in part, from working in the marijuana industry as a factor in determining whether to guarantee, issue, or make a housing loan.”
Published: December 19, 2019