How US federal cannabis legalization would affect US immigration laws – JD Supra

Introduction

During the 115th United States Congress, several Bills were introduced to legalize marijuana at the federal level. The Bills that received the most attention were: (1) the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act (STATES Act); (2) Marijuana Justice Act of 2017/Marijuana Justice Act of 2018 (Marijuana Justice Act); and (3) the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act (Marijuana Freedom Act). However, when the 115th United States Congress ended on January 3, 2019, these three Bills (collectively, the Congressional Bills) died.

The Congressional Bills must be reintroduced in the 116th United States Congress before they may be considered again. Assuming that all three are eventually reintroduced (without change) during the 116th United States Congress, an analysis of how they might affect the ability of foreign nationals (i.e., individuals other than US citizens) to enter the United States is provided below. 

The Congressional Bills The STATES Act

During the 115th United States Congress, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the STATES Act in the Senate on June 7, 2018. On the same day, Rep. David P. Joyce (R-OH) introduced an identical version of the STATES Act in the House of Representatives.

For the 116th United States Congress, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) reintroduced the STATES Act in the Senate on April 4, 2019. However, there has been no announcement regarding the reintroduction of the STATES Act in the House of Representatives yet.

The STATES Act would leave marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). However, it would also clarify that the CSA (subject to limited exceptions) does not apply to a person who acts in compliance with the laws of a particular state, or a federally-recognized Indian tribe within its jurisdiction, relating to the manufacture, production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration or

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