Marijuana – Future Implications

I received a question today about the future implications of a marijuana possession conviction. This from an 18 year old college student worried about his future. Many folks, perhaps a majority of folks, consider a marijuana possession record to be a very minor issue. Compared to most criminal charges, that’s certainly a correct viewpoint, but any sort of drug conviction carries serious collateral consequences.

Of great importance to a college student is the federal rule that, if you find yourself convicted of a drug case while you are receiving federal student loans or aid, you will be ineligible for future loans or aid. Although this is not necessarily a permanent revocation of aid, and completing a rehab will often allow aid to continue in the future, being forced to take a semester or two off from school is a terrible and severe consequence – and one that many have never heard of.

A drug conviction will also make it more difficult to obtain employment. Indeed, certain states have complete bars on drug offenders holding certain licensed professions. In Pennsylvania, for instance, a drug conviction may bar someone from being a licensed nurse.

Often, those charged with marijuana or other drug crimes do not think to ask their attorneys about collateral consequences of taking a plea bargain or being found guilty. And, unfortunately, some lawyers are not actually aware of these consequences.

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