July 30, 2019
In an attempt to address one of several collateral consequences associated with a marijuana-related charge, Representative Bill Foster (D-IL) has introduced the Second Chance for Students Act. If passed by Congress, the bill will allow students convicted of simple marijuana possession to maintain access to financial aid for six months while they complete an approved drug rehabilitation program.
“One mistake shouldn’t mean the end of a student’s education,” Congressman Foster said. “For many students, financial aid can mean the difference between staying in school and dropping out. This legislation would ensure that students stay in school while they complete the required rehabilitation program. No student should have their future determined by one bad choice.”
Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA), Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) have signed on as cosponsors.
“Currently, students who are convicted of possessing marijuana risk losing their federal aid, no matter the quantity,” Congresswoman Moore said. “Losing financial aid can be devastating and often determines whether one can remain in school. This policy harms students of color, who are often targeted for low-level offenses like marijuana possession. It’s why I am thrilled to support this bill because a marijuana conviction shouldn’t jeopardize a students’ future or access to educational opportunity.”
Regardless of efforts to ease criminal penalties for marijuana possession in more than 60 municipalities around the country, and legalizing and regulating adult-use marijuana in 11 states, marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 controlled substance continues to prevent honest and hardworking individuals from securing gainful employment, housing, access to student loans and other basic services. It’s time to end the broken and discriminatory policies of marijuana prohibition. Passage of the Second Chance for Students Act is a step in the right direction.