Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young is applying for U.S. citizenship but his cannabis use might stand in his way.
In a blog post last week, Young, 73, said he recently applied for citizenship and “passed the test” but must pass another test “due to [his] use of marijuana and how some people who smoke it have exhibited a problem.”
Young pointed to a 2019 policy alert from then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding “controlled substance-related activity and good moral character determinations.” The alert specifically says that “violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, remains a conditional bar to establishing good moral character for naturalization even where that conduct would not be an offense under state law.”
“An applicant who is involved in certain marijuana related activities may lack GMC if found to have violated federal law, even if such activity is not unlawful under applicable state or foreign laws.” — April 29, 2019 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services policy alert
Young resides in California, where cannabis is legalized for adult use. In the post, Young indicated that he wants “to be a dual citizen and vote” but doesn’t think that he’ll be able to remain in the U.S. during the proceedings.
“I sincerely hope I have exhibited good moral character and will be able to vote my conscience on Donald J. Trump and his fellow American candidates, (as yet un-named),” he wrote.
In a statement to CNN, USCIS declined to comment on Young’s application, noting that “individuals who commit federal controlled substance violations face potential immigration consequences under the Immigration and Nationality Act.” The agency reiterated that the policy “applies to all foreign nationals regardless of the state or jurisdiction in which they reside.”