Washington, DC: The Supreme Court of the United States ruled 7 to 2 on Tuesday that noncitizens are not subject to mandatory deportation for violating state marijuana laws.
Writing for the majority, Justice Sonia Sotomayor opined that low-level marijuana offenses may not be legally classified by US immigration authorities as "aggravated felonies" under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, which defines such acts as deportable offenses for noncitizens.
The petitioner in the case, Adrian Moncrieffe – a Jamaican-born citizen who had been living in the United States since the age of three – had been deported after pleading guilty in Georgia state court to possessing 1.3 grams of marijuana with the intent to distribute. He had not been made aware, prior to accepting the plea, that he could face deportation by federal immigration authorities.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito authored dissenting opinions.
The case is Moncrieffe v. Holder.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500.