Possession of Marijuana: The Unrealized Effects in an Era of Relaxed and New Laws

Despite the legalization of medical marijuana by Missouri voters in the fall of 2018, the possession and sale of marijuana (where not authorized by those medical marijuana laws) is still a criminal offense in Missouri. It should also be noted that federal law does not recognize any medical marijuana laws and the possession and sale of marijuana by anyone is a violation of federal law.

While the likelihood of federal prosecution for possession is statistically small, it is vitally important to understand that a conviction for marijuana possession can have devastating effects on those applying for new or continuing student loans and aid through or subsidized by the federal government.

Federal guidelines for student loans state that a conviction for drug possession (including marijuana) can result in a denial of that aid or in a suspension of payments of aid that has already been granted. Further, depending on the timing of the conviction and the assistance granted, federal law and student loan guidelines can force the repayment of funds already received by the student.

It is important to note that the federal government may not recognize the effect of a suspended imposition of sentence (which is, generally, not considered a conviction in the State of Missouri) and consider such a disposition a conviction in determining eligibility for financial aid.

Make sure to keep these issues in mind if you have been charged with possession of marijuana or any other drug and are considering applying for federal student loans and aid.

This information is not designed to solicit representation or offer legal advice and does not form an attorney-client relationship.