New Bill Would Allow Students with Past Marijuana Convictions to Keep Their Financial Aid

While many politicians are attempting to pass bills that would prevent people from going to jail over marijuana, it's rarer for them to address people who've already gone to prison for cannabis-related offenses. But a new bill would do exactly that when it comes to financial aid.

A bill introduced by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and others would allow people with previous drug convictions to still qualify for financial aid. Currently, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), an application that is pretty much universally required to qualify for financial aid in colleges, currently asks the following:

“Have you been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, work-study, or loans)?”

Many civil rights and drug reform groups have advocated for the question to be removed from the FAFSA, as if a student answers yes, they'll almost certainly lose their financial aid, and most likely their ability to afford going to college. It's estimated that around 1,000 students each year lose their financial aid eligibility due to this question.

Booker's bill would do a few other things as well, such as simplifying the financial aid process and making the FAFSA available to DREAMers. 

Booker last year introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which would end the federal government's prohibition on cannabis, and has been one of the most vocal pro-legalization voices in Congress.

(h/t Marijuana Moment)


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