Casualties of War: How Prohibition Affects Education

The devastating impact of the War on Drugs extends to higher education, as students caught with pot face losing out on federal financial aid and often, consequently, on an education. Drug offenses are the only crimes that must be reported on federal student-aid applications, and that’s unlikely to change under a new administration laden with drug warriors.

Christy Billett could be the poster child for exposing the enduring perniciousness of the Drug War’s attack on American college students. Her story also stands as a stark warning about what many students may face under the Trump administration with an Education Department headed by Betsy DeVos and a Justice Department led by Jeff Sessions.

Back in 2000, Billett—then a working-class young woman of 18—was a few courses shy of completing her associate’s degree at DuBois Business College in rural Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, where she was enrolled in a program that would have made her a medical-transcription administrator. But she found herself entrapped in a sting by a friend’s father, a man with cancer who had asked his son to find him a source of marijuana to ease his pain. Billett, who had some pot and occasionally sold some, offered to sell him two ounces, but it turned out he was setting her up. While closing the deal, Billett was arrested and, without an attorney, agreed to make a statement to police. She subsequently hired a lawyer who managed to get the court to change her plea to “no contest,” but the damage was done. A convicted drug felon under Pennsylvania law, when Billett filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in January 2001 to cover her final semester’s tuition, she discovered that she was permanently banned from receiving any federal tuition grants or student loans.

Read more at High Times

CANNABIS MOVES TO THE HEAD OF THE CLASS

Academia is stepping up to help develop an understanding and acceptance of cannabis, working with industry moves and shakers to expand what we know and fill in the gaps of what we don’t.

The prospect of more frequent and higher-quality academic cannabis research received a glimmer of hope last year when the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), while not changing the schedule of cannabis, allowed for more research to be done by both researchers and private companies.

The University of Mississippi, through its National Center for Natural Products Research School of Pharmacy, has been the only place where researchers can get legally-grown cannabis for their research. The university supplies high-quality marijuana to cannabis researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and has a partnership with the Food and Drug Administration.

Read more at Dope Magazine

Free Speech Win for Weed T-Shirts at Iowa State

A recent ruling by a federal appeals court upheld the free speech rights of college students promoting on-campus cannabis organizations using official school logos.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — In a case that free speech advocates are calling a victory for college students everywhere regardless of their political views, a federal appeals court on Monday ruled that Iowa State University cannot prevent a marijuana law reform advocacy group from distributing a T-shirt with the Iowa State University mascot on one side and a marijuana leaf on the other.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said ISU administrators including President Steven Leath, Senior Vice President Warren Madden and two others violated First Amendment rights of two students who were top officers of the ISU chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Read more at Cannabis Now