A U.S. software company recently filed a federal complaint that highlights the conflict between state and federal laws regarding the growth, production, distribution, and sale of marijuana and its related products.
As of October 2022, marijuana is legal for recreational use in 19 states and legal for medical use in 37 states – but marijuana is NOT legal under federal law in the U.S., even for medicinal purposes. As a result, issues of this nature are highly sensitive and can have a great impact on immigration matters.
In this case, the company that filed the complaint, Treez Inc., provides inventory tracking software to companies that are allowed, under state law, to sell marijuana. However, even though the company does not distribute marijuana products in any form, an H-1B visa application that the company filed was denied because of its connection to the cannabis industry.
This makes it important for those who are pursuing immigration benefits to take note.
It is crucial to know that an examination of a foreign national’s conduct and interactions is equally as important as an examination of a sponsoring U.S. employer’s business relationships and clients. This is highlighted by the decision of USCIS in the subject case.
The easy answer is to simply avoid any such interactions – but in a growing and expanding market, is the simple answer the best one? Employers may want to look for innovative ways to insulate themselves from direct connections with the marijuana industry through third-party distributors.
For example, Treez Inc. may have prevented the unfavorable USCIS decision by working with a third party who could distribute their software to clients across industries, instead of obtaining their business through direct sales.
Of course, this case has only just been set in motion. The coming verdict will have wide-ranging implications on the ways that the USCIS makes visa decisions, so please check back to our blog for updates on the resolution of this case.
In the meantime, if you have any immediate questions about how your connection to the marijuana industry may impact your immigration petition, you can speak to an experienced attorney at Taylor & Associates Law P.C. by completing the contact us form below. We look forward to speaking with you!