Advice & Representation

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Tenant Rights

Examples: Repairs, security deposits, evictions, lease reviews


Criminal Cases

Examples: Misdemeanors, traffic tickets, expungements


Examples: family based green card applications, diversity visa program processing, fiance visas, VAWA self-petitions, crime victim applications, naturalization services, foreign residency waivers, MAVNI, and change of status applications

Notice for International Students and Others Who Are Not U.S. Citizens


Q.  What is the Minnesota Adult Use Cannabis Act?

A.  The Minnesota Adult Use Cannabis Act is the law that legalized recreational marijuana in Minnesota.  Beginning August 1, 2023, adults 21 years of age and older may possess up to two ounces of cannabis flower, no more than 8 grams of cannabis concentrates, and up to a total of 800 milligrams of THC edible cannabis products in public.  Additionally, the law permits possession of up to 2 pounds of marijuana in the home. 

Q.  Does this mean I am allowed to use and possess marijuana if I am an international student or a non-U.S. citizen?

A.  No.  International students and others who are not U.S. citizens are still subject to federal laws related to immigration, regardless of the laws of the state in which they are studying or residing.  Federal law prohibits the possession, distribution, sale, and manufacture of marijuana.  Federal law does not provide for the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana.  To understand the difference between federal, state, and local laws, please see this link

Q.  What could happen if I am here on a student visa, and I am caught with marijuana?

A.  The consequences could vary depending on the circumstances, but could involve a fine, jail time, or even deportation.  Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, any nonimmigrant with a controlled substance conviction may be deemed inadmissible, which could result in future visa denials and inability to return to the United States and/or denial of an application for other immigration benefits. 

Q.  Can an immigration agent ask me if I use marijuana?

A.  Yes.  Immigration agents have the authority to ask questions about an individual’s drug use.  They may even ask to view one’s cell phone including emails, texts, and social media accounts.  Evidence of marijuana use could result in denied admission into the United States.

Q.  Is marijuana use and possession allowed on campus?

A.   The University of Minnesota is required to follow federal cannabis laws. This means it is still illegal to possess, use, distribute, or grow cannabis on campus. Additionally, the University’s Drug-Free policySmoke-and Tobacco-Free policy, and Student Conduct Code have not changed and still prohibit these behaviors on campus.

Q.  Can I work in the cannabis industry if I have employment authorization?

A.  While the cannabis industry may be booming, employment in a job involving possession, distribution, sale, or manufacture of marijuana could be problematic for students on F and J visas or other foreign nationals subject to immigration laws. 

Q.  What else should I know about the new Minnesota marijuana law?

A.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has clarified that regardless of state law, under federal law, current users of marijuana are prohibited from possessing, receiving, transporting or shipping firearms or ammunition. 

Q.  What if I have more questions about my legal rights?

A.  If you have any legal questions, please reach out to the Student Legal Service. SLS offers free advice and representation to enrolled University of Minnesota students paying the Student Service Fee.  They have two immigration attorneys on staff who can help answer legal questions related to immigration concerns. 




Examples: Automobile purchases and repairs, credit problems, contracts, insurance coverage, defective goods and services, students loans (non U of M), property loss


Examples: Contract review

Wills, Health Care Directives, and Power of Attorney

SLS helps draft the legal documents listed above, most commonly the Power of Attorney form for students studying abroad. 


Name Change and Gender Change

SLS will provide guidance and e-filing of all forms necessary for name changes and gender changes. 


SLS offers only consultation and/or referrals in other legal matters, including, but not limited to, conflict of interest, personal injury, out of seven county metro area, business law, and family law.


Even if the case involves a legal matter listed above, SLS cannot provide service in the following situations:

  • Claims against or adverse to the University of Minnesota
  • Cases involving one eligible student with a claim that is adverse to or potentially in conflict with another U of M student (see Handbook, page 9)
  • Claims against or adverse to the University of Minnesota regents, employees, or agents if the claim arises out of the performance of duties of office or employment at the University of Minnesota
  • Cases challenging the policies or practices of the University of Minnesota
  • Matters that are prohibited by the ethical standards and regulations governing USLS attorneys
  • Matters customarily handled as contingent fee cases (e.g. personal injury)

See complete list of exclusions in our Policy Handbook