California Bill Would Allow Drug Users to Get Food Stamps

The California Assembly approved a bill that rescinds current policy and would allow drug users to qualify for food stamps, the San Francisco Chronicle reported May 25.

The bill introduced by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) would override a federal policy that prohibits giving food stamps to anyone with a felony drug conviction. The ban, which was included in the 1996 federal welfare-reform legislation, allows states to pull out. To date, 32 states have.

Leno said the ban prevents individuals with alcohol and other drug addictions from succeeding in their recovery. He cited national studies that found that poor nutrition is a major trigger of relapse.

The bill would not apply to individuals convicted of drug distribution.

The measure moves on to the California Senate, where approval is expected. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not indicated his position on the bill.