updated 2:57 PM CEST, Sep 21, 2023

Canadian rock legend Neil Young fighting acknowledged marijuana use to become U.S. citizen

At the same time as many of his fellow Canadian citizens are struggling with tax issues having to do with their dual American citizenships, and in some cases trying to give up their U.S. passports altogether, Neil Young has come forward to detail how he is fighting to become an American.

The 74-year-old rock star has lived in the U.S. since the mid-1960s, and is a resident of the state of California.

In a posting on his website, NeilYoungArchives.com, Young noted that he was keen "to be a dual citizen [of the U.S. and Canada] and vote", but that his application was being delayed by the U.S. authorities "due to my use of marijuana".

Since Young posted his missive on Nov. 8, the story of his quest for a U.S. passport has been covered by major media organizations around the world, including the BBC, the UK's Guardian newspaper, Rolling Stone and The New York Times. 

One earlier report, in The Los Angeles Times in October, pre-dated the realization that he was going to have a problem. It quoted him as saying: "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” shortly after turning 74 on Nov. 12... The salient point being, “I’ll be able to vote.” 

According to the subsequent reports, and Young himself, the musician's difficulties are traceable to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security statement in April, in which the authorities clarified that "violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, remains a conditional bar to establishing good moral character for naturalisation, even where that conduct would not be an offence under state law". (California legalized cannibis for recreational use in 2018.)

Young is understood to be critical of President Trump, even though Trump has shown himself to be a Neil Young fan on occasion, and has used Young's 1989 hit "Rockin' in the Free World" at campaign events.

Below is Young's website statement, in its entirety. To see it on his website, click here.

I have been very successful in my life