The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is allowing people previously convicted of drug possession to work at credit unions.
In July, the NCUA board announced the proposed changes to their employment regulations, which allows an exception for low-level drug offenders. On Monday, the agency published its ruling in the Federal Register and said that that it examined the comments submitted by the public and that the changes will be enacted into law.
The published notice states that although the NCUA board is not overlooking the impact of drug possession and use on public health, the board believes that people previously convicted of simple drug offenses pose less risk to insured credit unions. The notice further states that when drug convictions are handed out on people in disadvantaged communities, they are bound to experience several collateral consequences.
NCUA further wrote that people convicted of non-violent drug possession offenses are already suffering from extrajudicial consequences such as employment bans, loss of financial aid, loss of voting rights, they cannot access public housing, and are disqualified from occupational licenses as well as denial of public assistance. It also noted that people of color are the most affected by drug convictions.
The published notice further indicates that there remains confusion and uncertainty regarding marijuana offenses such that although it is now legal in many states, federally, marijuana is still illegal.
In certain circumstances, drug offenses are classified as de minimus, which means that those previously convicted do not have to tender a unique application to the NCUA board to be considered for employment.
For a person to qualify for a de minimus, he or she must not have other convictions that require a ban, and they must have been convicted of an offense that does not involve trafficking or manufacturing of Schedule 1 substances. Besides, a minimum of five years must have passed since the conviction.
Most of the public commented on the policy that supports the exception of individuals with a single conviction for simple drug possession, citing that they pose minimal risks to insured credit unions. NCUA further said that the majority of the commenters supported the policy and said that due to the uncertainty surrounding state and federal laws, the exception is appropriate.
NCUA also wrote that some of the comments agreed with the board’s observation that the drug convictions unduly affect people of color, and the convicted individual suffers extrajudicial consequences.
As of January 2, 2020, people who are convicted of petty theft, false identification, and isolated minor offenses would not tender a unique application under the new changes.
In August, NCUA chairman said that before the vote, the House had previously approved a bill protecting banks and credit unions transacting with the marijuana industry from federal regulators as long as they complied with the state laws. The agency also clarified that financial institutions are also now working with hemp businesses since the crop was federally legalized.
Industry experts are in agreement that the entire marijuana industry, including players like Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQB: PLPRF) and HTC Extraction Systems (TSX.V: HTC), welcomes the announcement by the NCUA regarding the employability of persons with minor marijuana convictions on their criminal history.
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