Singer-Songwriter Neil Young’s U.S. Citizenship Held Up Due to Cannabis Use

CALIFORNIA – Legendary singer-songwriter and Toronto native Neil Young on Friday said he has been told by immigration officials that he must re-take his U.S. citizenship exam—though he apparently passed the first test—due to prior marijuana use and involvement with people known to use cannabis.

In a post on Neil Young Archives titled, “I Have Been Very Successful in my Life,” Young announced that he had recently applied for U.S. citizenship, in order to vote in the 2020 presidential election. A longtime California resident, Young stated:


“The problem is defined in an April 9, 2019 addition under Attorney General Sessions. USCIS [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] issued a Policy Alert, which includes:

“‘An applicant who is involved in certain marijuana-related activities may lack GMC (Good Moral Character) if found to have violated federal law, even if such activity is not unlawful under applicable state or foreign laws.’”

Young, a member of bands including The Byrds; Buffalo Springfield; Crazy Horse; and Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young, is also a multi-Grammy award winning artist and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The 73-year old famously appeared at seminal music event Woodstock in 1969, with Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and a year later, penned classic social commentary song, “Ohio,” based on the Kent State Massacre in 1970.

He also is a recipient of the Order of Canada, which he was awarded in 2009.

“I certainly hope I’ve exhibited good moral character,” Young continued, adding that he hoped to vote his “conscience” on Donald Trump and other candidates in 2020.

In an unrelated story—in August, customs agents detained two Canadian citizens when they attempted to bring legal CBD products into the U.S.; one traveler originating in Canada and the other entering the U.S. from Japan. As a result of being detained, both were returned to Canada and banned from returning to the U.S. for life.

Travelers—and, apparently, treasured music icons—should be wary of continued U.S. federal prohibition on cannabis and hemp products, and use of these items.