U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, introduced legislation to amend the penalties students face when convicted of minor marijuana offenses.
Under current law, a student convicted of possessing marijuana could lose federal student aid for an extended period of time, according to a news release from Foster’s office.
The Second Chance for Students Act would allow students convicted of marijuana possession to retain financial aid eligibility for six months, while they complete an approved drug rehabilitation program.
“One mistake shouldn’t mean the end of a student’s education,” 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.”
U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore, D-Wisconsin; Hank Johnson, D-Georgia; Seth Moulton, D-Massachusetts; and Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-District of Columbia are co-sponsoring the legislation.
The bill’s supporters argued that if students lose federal aid, it would be devastating and significant in determining whether or not they can remain in school. It also might jeopardize their future. Moore said the current policy often harms students of color.