July 11, 2017 | General |

Kansas Marijuana Charges Could Derail Your Teen’s Future

If there’s one thing that teenagers are known for, it’s making questionable decisions and becoming rebellious. Sometimes, teenage rebellion can look like shouting matches with parents, bright and colorful hair dye or staying out past curfew. Other times, it can take a more serious turn, like shoplifting or experimenting with drugs or alcohol. For many parents and the teens they love, marijuana may seem like a safer option than alcohol. While medically that may be true, in terms of social and legal consequences, there’s no question that marijuana is more dangerous for your teen.

For most teenagers, experimenting with marijuana is something that happens at a friend’s house or at a party. It can happen a few times and then become old news. Unfortunately for some teenagers, a single experiment with marijuana could cost them their plans for the future.

Getting caught with marijuana carries serious risks, particularly for teenagers. While teens may receive more lenient sentencing than adults in some cases, there are other consequences that could haunt them for years. Even if you are able to have the conviction expunged eventually, plans for college could be on hold indefinitely.

Social consequences for marijuana are quite serious

Kansas has pretty straightforward laws about marijuana possession. Getting caught in possession of any amount, even the butt of a joint, is a Class B misdemeanor. It carries up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Getting caught with a pipe, bong, hookah, vaporizer or other paraphernalia could result in a second charge with another year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Those legal consequences can be steep for a young person. Unfortunately, the fallout from marijuana possession won’t end when your teenager pays the fine and fulfills the other terms of his or her sentence.

The federal government has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to marijuana and financial aid for college. That means that your child won’t receive any federal student aid, from loans to grants. If your teen was already in college when charged with a marijuana offense, any funding already received will get terminated, making it difficult or perhaps impossible for your teenager to continue schooling. In addition to losing out on federal student aid, your teenager will also have a criminal record that will cause issues for years unless you take steps to expunge it, if possible.

A criminal record can prevent your child from getting good jobs. Most employers frown on drug-related criminal records. It can also impact his or her ability to get into a decent rental apartment or home. Make sure you discuss not only the health issues surrounding marijuana with your teenager but also the potential for social and educational penalties that could stall plans for the future.

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Merrill Law Firm

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7211 West 98th Terrace, Building 4, Suite 140
Overland Park, Kansas 66212

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