College is an amazing opportunity for anyone who is able to follow that path. College students are young adults, but the college experience often has a cocoon effect, and many students engage in an activity or two that is less than responsible. Sometimes, this youthful folly can have serious legal consequences that reverberate throughout one’s college career, and a marijuana misdemeanor conviction is one such example.
The Legality of Marijuana
Several states have legalized recreational marijuana, but most have not. Further, marijuana is illegal at the federal level, which serves to complicate the issue. The State of Texas has some of the toughest marijuana laws on the books, including:
- Possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor.
- Possession of from 2 to 4 ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor that can earn up to a year in jail and fines of up to $4,000.
- Possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana can be a felony charge, and the attendant fines and jail time are dependent upon the relevant circumstances.
How a Misdemeanor Conviction Can Affect Your College Career
Most college students carry significant financial aid, and the majority of this aid is federal. If you are convicted of a marijuana misdemeanor, you will, in all likelihood, lose your federal financial aid. This leaves many students with no alternative but to drop out of college.
Misdemeanors are a matter of public record, and your college could easily become aware of yours. The consequences of such can be extensive, including:
- Your court dates – and jail time if applicable – can cause you to miss a considerable amount of school, which can obviously affect your success in college.
- Depending upon your school, it could have a policy related to such convictions that involve either suspension or expulsion.
- If you have an athletic and/or an academic scholarship, you probably stand to lose them.
Your college education is an investment in your future, and as such, a marijuana misdemeanor conviction can be devastating. It can derail your degree, your ability to pursue a meaningful and rewarding career in your chosen field, and your earning potential into the future.
As a college student in Texas, it is important that you recognize the legal limbo that marijuana represents. As more states legalize recreational usage, the general attitude toward the drug continues to loosen up. This does not alter the fact, however, that marijuana remains illegal in the State of Texas.