If you live in Iowa, it might be a good time to have a refresher chat with your young adult college student about the potential problems that come along with a drug conviction.

Effective Jan. 1, 2020, Illinois became the latest state to legalize the drug’s recreational use for anyone 21 years of age or older. That’s making neighboring Iowan authorities nervous — so much so that they’ve been putting out reminders that marijuana is still illegal under both federal and state laws.

Indeed, individual state laws aside, federal authorities still consider marijuana to be a Class I substance (putting it on par with heroin in the eyes of the court). Local Iowa authorities aren’t particularly thrilled with how easy it may now be for people to hop over the border into Illinois to access the drug, either. They’ve also been warning drivers that they’ll be watching for signs of impairment when they come back.

Drug convictions have special consequences for young people who are still in college, so young adults really shouldn’t underestimate their danger. For students, a drug conviction means:

  • They can lose the federal student aid they’ve already received and have to return it.
  • Their future entitlement to federal student loans may be suspended.
  • They may lose the ability to reside in campus housing.
  • They may lose university or private scholarships.
  • They may be forced out of school after a discipline hearing.
  • Difficulty getting an internship or qualifying for work-study due to a criminal background.
  • Problems obtaining a professional license upon graduation.
  • Problems obtaining employment or passing a background check.

Even knowing the potential consequences isn’t always enough to keep young adults out of trouble — especially when it seems like everyone is trying marijuana these days. If your college student is arrested for marijuana possession, find out how you can protect their rights and their future.