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  • Thursday, June 09, 2005


    Draconian? You Judge

    During a recent Democracy Now! report on the Supreme Court ruling on medical use of marihuana, I caught an astonishing (to me) fact: People convicted of pot possession are no longer eligible for student loans. Now this should have been totally obvious to me with a minimum of thought; the government's ever-increasing criminal penalties for simple possession of pot have gotten quite outrageous.

    I'm not an advocate for pot but I think the situation of prosecution and jailing users is out of control. Pot is just not that dangerous. I found this information in a .pdf titled Increasing Awareness of Collateral Consequences Among Participants of the Criminal Justice System: Is Education Enough? by Florian Miedel, Esq.:
    If convicted of even a petty crime, a person may become ineligible for federally funded health care benefits, food stamps, housing assistance, federal student loans. She can be evicted from public housing, will be unable to enlist in the military, and her driver’s license will be suspended. She may not be able to serve on a jury or, in some jurisdictions be allowed to vote. Arrest, alone, can result in the suspension of professional licenses for security guards, taxi drivers, barbers, nurses. The imposition of many of these sanctions, most significantly deportation and eviction from housing, is virtually automatic following conviction for any of a large number of crimes.

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