Despite living in America for most of his life, Neil Young is still only a Canadian citizen. That’s not for a lack of effort, however, as the 73-year-old rocker has been trying to become a dual US citizen for some time now. The delay is apparently the result of Young’s history of marijuana use, which may be the most stuck-up American way to officially welcome him as an American.
Most of Young’s life at this point has been spent living in the US, paying taxes in the US, and spending time with family in the US. With the upcoming presidential election drawing near, he’s been trying to get his American citizenship approved once and for all so that he can vote here, too (via Stereogum).
As far as the application process goes, Young has completed the whole thing. He filled out the forms, passed his citizenship test, and was scheduled to take the oath this past Tuesday. That’s when he hit a road bump. Young was informed there’s been a delay in the process because his use of marijuana may indicate a lack of GMC, or “Good Moral Character” — an apparently real thing in the US citizenship requirements thanks to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
To prove he has good moral character, Young has to take another test to show he’s a good guy with weed. “I sincerely hope I have exhibited good moral character and will be able to vote my conscience on Donald J. Trump and his fellow American candidates, (as yet un-named),” he said. “I will keep you posted, but I don’t think I will be able to remain parked here during the proceedings.”
The whole thing is explained in detail over at Neil Young Archives. You can read his breakdown of the events in full below.
“I want to be a dual citizen and vote. When I recently applied for American citizenship, I passed the test. It was a conversation where I was asked many questions. I answered them truthfully and passed. Recently however, I have been told that I must do another test, due to my use of marijuana and how some people who smoke it have exhibited a problem.
The problem is defined in an April 19, 2019 addition under Attorney General Sessions. USCIS 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.’
I sincerely hope I have exhibited good moral character and will be able to vote my conscience on Donald J. Trump and his fellow American candidates, (as yet un-named).
I will keep you posted, but I don’t think I will be able to remain parked here during the proceedings.
It’s pretty wild to think a musician as legendary and engrained in American pop culture as Neil Young is having this much trouble trying to become an American citizen. Doubly so because the thing holding him up is actually legal in a number of states. Maybe the people handling his documents just need to give Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s first new album in seven years, Colorado, a listen to realize he’d be a valuable official citizen, regardless of how red his eyes are.