Neil Young Finally Becomes U.S. Citizen, Despite His Marijuana Use

Neil Young (photo by Darryl Hannah)

Neil Young's American citizenship was held up by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service because of "certain marijuana related activities" until the Canadian-born rocker finally gained approval on January 21. 

Neil Young on January 21: "I’m happy to report I’m in!!"

"I'm happy I'm that I'm in!!" he posted at his website along with a photo of him saluting next to an American flag. "Vote your conscience."

Young took to his blog on November 8 to let people know he passed a first "test," but was being asked to take another "due to my use of marijuana and how some people who smoke it have exhibited a problem." At issue was what the goverment called good moral character (GMC).

A policy alert, dated April 19, 2019, read:

• "Clarifies that violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, established by a conviction or admission, is generally a bar to establishing GMC)for naturalization even where the conduct would not be a violation of state law.

• "An applicant who is involved in certain marijuana related activities may lack GMC if found to have violated federal law, even if such activity is not unlawful under applicable state or foreign laws."

Young referred to the test or interview where he "was asked many questions." Presumably, he discussed his marijuana use and perhaps offered his opinions about legalization. Young is particuarly active in climate change reform and protests.

About his marijuana use, Young recently told the Los Angeles Times“I’m back to smoking. I stopped for a while and then I started again, but I’m much healthier. I lost like 35 pounds from what I weighed at that time. My life is full of exercise and happiness and creativity. So I’m very happy.”

Further fueling Young's happiness is his 2018 marraige to Darryl Hannah. In the same LA Times article on October 24, the Canadian singer-songwriter-guitarist crowed: "I’ve passed all the tests. I’ve got my appointment, and if everything goes as planned, I’ll be taking the oath of citizenship” on November 12. Well, not so fast.

His main goal is to vote against Donald Trump in the 2020 election. "I want to register my opinion," he says.

Young's latest album, Colorado, came out in October. He recently moved to the Centennial State with Hannah. The main theme of the album is environmentalism, with rocking Crazy Horse tracks like "Shut It Down," "She Showed Me Love" and "Milky Way." Listen to the entire album below.

Young is known for such stoner anthems as "Roll Another Number for the Road" and "Homegrown." Watch it below.

This article was originally posted on Nov. 11, 2019 and updated on Jan. 24, 2020.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.