Bill to Allow Proposition 36 Clients to Receive Food Stamps Passes California Legislature and Goes to the Governor

Press Release September 2, 2002
Media Contact

Whitney A. Taylor at 916-439-6495

SACRAMENTO, CA – The proponents of California’s Proposition 36 – that allows low-level, non-violent, drug possession offenders’ treatment instead of incarceration – applauded the California Legislature for passing AB 1947 (Carl Washington, D-Paramount) and urge Governor Davis to sign it into law. AB 1947 would allow individuals who are enrolled in a Proposition 36 treatment program to receive food stamps if they meet eligibility requirements. California is one of 20 states that continues to deny persons convicted of a drug felony welfare and food stamps under a punitive federal law passed in 1996. “This legislation is an important component in the provision of quality treatment services for Proposition 36 clients,” stated Whitney A. Taylor, Director of the Proposition 36 Implementation Project for the Drug Policy Alliance. “It is unrealistic to expect Californians in this program to succeed in treatment if they are unable to feed themselves and their families.”

AB 1947 (Washington, D-Paramount) only applies to persons in the Proposition 36 program and covers only federally funded food stamps. Consequently, this important first step to helping those who are addicted to drugs receive desperately needed services comes with no appropriation of funds from the state.

“Signing this bill into law should be an easy call for the Governor,” continued Taylor. “The program it supports was adopted by the 61% of Californians who voted for Proposition 36 and it requires no funds from the state.”

“If we want to end the cycle of addiction and incarceration – which is a socially and fiscally responsible goal – we need to create a system that helps persons succeed. AB 1947 is an important addition to the provision of substance abuse treatment that will help people stay in recovery,” Taylor concluded.

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A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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