Even though the laws of many states allow individuals to use marijuana recreationally, recreational marijuana use remains illegal in Texas. Federal law also lists marijuana as a controlled substance and criminalizes its use. Unfortunately, if you receive a conviction for a marijuana-related offense, you may not only face criminal penalties.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid determines your eligibility for Pell grants, subsidized loans and work-study funds. If you have a conviction for possessing or distributing marijuana during your financial aid award period, you must disclose it on your FAFSA.
A suspension of federal student aid
A conviction for possessing or selling any controlled substance, including marijuana, is likely to result in a suspension of the federal student aid you are currently receiving. For a first-time possession offense, you can expect the suspension to last a year. A first-time distribution-related offense typically triggers a two-year suspension. Subsequent offenses for either may cause a longer suspension or even a permanent ban.
Options for ending the suspension early
If you have a suspension of your federal financial aid, you can wait out the suspension or try to end it early. For reinstatement, you may either complete a drug rehabilitation program or pass two subsequent surprise drug tests.
The consequences of ignoring the suspension
Ignoring the suspension may put you into debt. After all, if you use funds during your suspension period, you may have to repay the federal government. Therefore, it is important to notify your school of your suspension and to stop using funds until you are legally eligible to do so.
Depending on your financial situation, paying for school without federal aid may be nearly impossible. Consequently, to avoid the consequences that come with a suspension, you may want to fight marijuana-related charges aggressively.