What about the kids?
When President Johnson signed the Higher Education Act in 1965 he said, “By passing this we bridge the gap between helplessness and hope for educationally deprived children.”
The Act was intended to give underprivileged children access to education by giving federal money to universities and creating programs like Head Start. In 1998, just 30 years later, a Representative from Indiana added what is now known as the Aid Elimination Policy, which makes students ineligible for Federal Financial Aid if they are found guilty of a misdemeanor drug crime, essentially crushing the bridge between the gap of helplessness and hope for children and young adults nationwide.
With the average cost of a college degree reeling in at nearly $40,000, most students are forced to drop out, never to complete school. Since the implementation of the 1998 policy, nearly a quarter of a million students have been denied grants, student loans, and even access to work study programs. Good paying jobs are hard to come by and nearly impossible to obtain without a college degree- leading the students to a lifetime of living paycheck to paycheck.
Despite majority of the nation in support of marijuana legalization most states still consider possession of marijuana to be a misdemeanor. Even in the states that have legalized marijuana for recreational and/or medical purposes, marijuana possession is still a misdemeanor for minors and young adults- putting them at risk of losing their futures before they’d even begun. When drafting MILegalize, we knew this wasn’t right for Michigan. 1 in 3 Michigan high school students report using marijuana, a staggering statistic considering the half a million high school students in Michigan. Statistically of course, there are no benefits in removing a student from school. As of now thousands of Michigan children risk losing their futures due to unjust and outdated policies.
As MILegalize and the Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, we felt it was time someone really protected the next generation. It is time for a real revolution. Our ballot proposal language ensures that young adults will not get misdemeanors for marijuana possession, that they will instead receive a civil infraction, that they will still be eligible for federal assistance and that they can still have an education-filled future.