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Neil Young says US citizenship may be delayed over marijuana

Neil Young says US citizenship may be delayed over marijuana

Neil Young, the wildly popular Canadian-born rock star said his application for US citizenship has been delayed because he smokes cannabis. Young says that he had passed the citizenship test but was told he had to pass another test to prove “moral character”.

Young, who just turned 74 this week, has lived in the US since the mid-1960s. Young has talked about his citizenship test on his website in a post, where he says he was asked many questions to which he answered truthfully. 

Young said he wants to have the US citizenship in order to vote. However, he was recently informed that to obtain US citizenship he has to pass another test because he uses marijuana. 

On 19 April, the US Department of Homeland Security had issued a policy alert stating that violating federal controlled substance law, including cannabis, remains a critical bar to establish a good moral character for naturalization, even if the conduct is not an offense under state law. 

Young lives in California, where cannabis was legalized for recreational use in 2018. But he might not be able to get his citizenship because he uses marijuana. 

The legality of marijuana for recreational use is still not crystal clear. While the federal law states that one can buy, sell and consume it for recreational purposes, the existing policies regarding the use of drugs still need to be updated to be in sync with the latest laws. 

Young said he hopes that he has exhibited good moral character and is able to vote for Donald J Trump and his fellow American candidates. Although Young has been critical of the president, Donald Trump has used Young’s 1989 hit Rockin’ in the Free World at campaign events. Back in 2014, Mr. Trump even called Young as one of his favorite musicians. 

But Young has clearly stated on his website that the President does not have permission to play or use his song. “He has the right to do it, but it goes against my wishes,” Young wrote on his website last year, adding that he has asked the President to stop using his music after his candidacy announcement. “Despite my requests, the President has chosen not to listen to me, just like he chooses not to listen to the American voices who ask him to stop with his constant lying”, said Young.

There are many other artists who have spoken out against Mr. Trump’s use of their music without their personal consent via license loopholes, including Axl Rose of Guns ‘N’ Roses, Rihanna, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. 

Young has lived for decades in the US and rejecting his citizenship on the basis of his usage of marijuana might throw off a major confusion to other people seeking US citizenship. 


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CBD and its Legality Status

The US government clarified that using cannabis and other drugs was a “bar to building good moral character for naturalization”. Back in December 2018, the government had passed a law, the Farm Bill, legalizing hemp-derived cannabidiol for medicinal purposes. Cannabidiol or CBD is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and is non-psychoactive in nature. 

CBD is touted for its medical benefits. It helps in reducing inflammation, swelling, acute aches, pain, injuries, and helps in speedy recovery from accidents, fractures, ligament ruptures, etc. CBD also helps in treating mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and even Tourettes.

The federal government limited the concentration of THC to 0.03% per unit under the Farm Bill Act 2018. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive substance found in marijuana which causes hallucinations and renders a feeling of euphoria. It is often times associated with mental health disorders and is known to cause epilepsy and trigger seizures. 

Now the Food and Drug Administration is yet to create a regulatory framework to streamline CBD infused edibles and other products in the market. However, companies have started flooding the market with CBD infused oils, tinctures, soaps, bath bombs, edibles including chocolates, gummies, beer, pizza, and what not. 

But the FDA has approved only one CBD infused product – Epidiolex. It is an oral solution containing cannabidiol or CBD oil which is used to alleviate the symptoms of two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. Moreover, the FDA has started warning companies to stop marketing their CBD based products as an alternative to tested and licensed medication. 

The Agency says that all the CBD products in the market right now are mostly unregulated and may contain high levels of THC. By consuming unregulated CBD products bought from online websites or unlicensed stores, one may test positive in drug tests and even land up in prison.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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