Pubdate: Thu, 13 Aug 2009
Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)
Copyright: 2009 Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


I respectfully disagree with your Aug. 6 editorial on the proposed 
reforms of the Higher Education Act denial of student loans to youth 
convicted of drug offenses. According to the Monitoring the Future 
survey, over 47 percent of U.S. high school seniors have tried an 
illicit drug. Can America really afford to disenfranchise half the 
nation's youth? 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 previous administration. As an 
admitted former drinker and alleged illicit drug user, President 
George W. Bush was also politically vulnerable. President Barack 
Obama has admitted to past illicit drug use as well.

While youthful indiscretions didn't stop Clinton, Bush or Obama 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.


Policy Analyst,

Common Sense for

Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom