The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that immigrants cannot be deported automatically simply for being convicted of petty pot possession.
The high court delivered a major victory for immigrant cannabis users when ruling on the case of Adrian Moncrieffe, a U.S. resident deported to Jamaica for possession of a paltry 1.3 grams of weed after being busted in the notoriously anti-cannabis state of Georgia. The feds somehow declared Moncrieffe's bust to be an "aggravated felony" and got him deported as if he were a major dealer, but the justices logically concluded Moncrieffe was denied a chance to challenge that deportation in court.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor's opinion stated that automatic deportation is only justified if the offense involves marijuana sales or possession of "more than a small amount.”
The Court ruled by a 7-2 decision and, unsurprisingly, the highly conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented. Justice Sotomayor said all this decision establishes is that the deportation is not automatic – the offender will instead have his/her day in court.
Moncrieffe can now return to the US and defend his right to stay in the country.