Pubdate: Thu, 18 Oct 2007
Source: Massachusetts Daily Collegian (U of MA, Edu)
Copyright: 2007 Daily Collegian
Author: Robert Sharpe


Thank you for raising awareness of the Higher Education Act's denial
of student loans to youth convicted of drug offenses. Instead of
empowering at-risk students with a college degree, HEA limits career
opportunities and increases the likelihood that those affected will
resort to crime.

Speaking of crime, convicted rapists and murders are still eligible
for federal student loans. Most students outgrow their youthful
indiscretions involving illicit drugs. An arrest and criminal record,
on the other hand, can be life-shattering.

After admitting to smoking pot (but not inhaling), former President
Bill Clinton opened himself up to "soft on drugs" criticism. And
thousands of Americans have paid the price in the form of shattered
lives. More Americans went to prison or jail during the Clinton
administration than during any past administration.

As an admitted former drinker and alleged illicit drug user, President
George W. Bush is also politically vulnerable when it comes to drugs.
While youthful indiscretions didn't stop Clinton or Bush from assuming
leadership positions, an arrest surely would have.

The short-term effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to
the long-term effects of criminal records.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC
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