Last week, the House Ways and Means committee passed a budget reconciliation legislation that contains a provision to remove a ban which hinders individuals with drug convictions from using education-related tax credits. The committee agreed to remove the restriction, which prevents people with felony drug convictions at the federal or state level from claiming the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Individuals are currently allowed to claim this tax benefit for expenses paid for course materials, fees and tuition for higher learning.
The provision was enacted in 2009. Rep. Danny Davis has been calling for an end to it, with Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who also supports reforming the provision, stating in a recent post on Facebook that the law violated the principle of giving individuals second chances after they’d served their time. Van Hollen, who is the junior U.S. Senator from Maryland, added that it was important for students to be provided with every opportunity to succeed in not only achieving a higher education but also pursuing a better life.
Currently, the statute stipulates that the tax credit shall not be allowed for qualified tuition or associated expenses for the attendance or enrollment of students for any academic period if they’ve been convicted of a state or federal felony offense which comprises of the distribution or possession of a controlled substance. Van Hollen noted that removing the penalty would help individuals acquire a postsecondary education and contribute to the country’s economy and workforce.
Activists argue that the policy imposes an additional burden on students who may have been involved in the war on drugs and discourages them from wanting to improve their lives through higher learning.
The proposed measure also eliminates a query on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which asked students to disclose previous drug offenses. Advocates note that the question has deterred many students who are eligible from applying for student aid.
Activists have been advocating for an end to the Aid Elimination Penalty, which has made thousands of students ineligible for college assistance because of convictions for cannabis and other drugs since it was enacted in 1998. The penalty was included as an amendment to the Higher Education Act.
Late last year, a bipartisan spending legislation that would prevent college students from being disqualified from receiving federal financial aid over drug convictions was enacted. Financial aid includes grants and loans.
These efforts to make changes to the repressive drug laws in the country offer hope to the cannabis industry and sector actors such as Hero Technologies Inc. (OTC: HENC) that a time is coming when enabling federal laws will eventually be passed to establish a legal marijuana market across the nation.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Hero Technologies Inc. (OTC: HENC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/HENC
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