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OIS NEWS – 12/19/2019

Illinois Law on Marijuana Use and Impact on the UIC International Community

As of Jan. 1, 2020 certain activities related to marijuana (cannabis) are legalized under Illinois state law as a result of the passage of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act of 2019. However, marijuana continues to be classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

It is important for the UIC international community to understand that immigration regulations reflect federal laws which are established at the national level and override state laws. International students, scholars, employees and visitors residing in Illinois must still follow federal laws which prohibit the use or possession of marijuana, even after Jan. 1, 2020.

The immigration consequences for the possession or use of marijuana by an international student, scholar, employee or visitor to the U.S. are severe, including arrest, revocation of current visa status, deportation from the U.S., and ineligibility for future visas to the U.S. In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents can refuse entry to the U.S. on the basis of documented or inferred marijuana use discovered on the social media accounts, texts or emails of an international during a search at the port of entry.

Again, while the state laws and culture of marijuana (cannabis) use in Illinois change as of Jan. 1, 2020, international students, scholars, employees and visitors must still follow federal laws which continue to prohibit its use. In addition, UIC continues to prohibit marijuana on campus in accordance with the university’s Alcohol and Other Drug Policy.

Questions? Feel free to contact the Office of International Services.