Cannabis News DrugSense
  Food Stamps Become a Weapon in the War on Drugs
Posted by FoM on June 04, 2001 at 09:52:18 PT
By Peter Schrag 
Source: Contra Costa Times  

justice In little more than a month, California launches a major experiment in the management and control of illegal drugs.Under Proposition 36, which goes into effect July 1, anyone convicted of simple possession will be allowed to choose treatment instead of prison. If the offender successfully completes treatment, he or she can petition the court to have the conviction dismissed.

But under a punitive last-minute floor amendment written into the 1996 welfare reform act by Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, anyone convicted of a felony drug violation will be denied food stamps and certain other federal benefits for life.

(Rapists and murderers are subject to no such penalties; nor are welfare cheats.)

That makes treatment and rehabilitation that much tougher, both for the offender and her family.

The law allows individual states to opt out of the ban, something that 28 have done in whole or in part, but which California has not. Two years ago, a bill carried by Republican Sen. Cathie Wright that would have ended the prohibition was approved by the Legislature, but vetoed by Gov. Gray Davis because, he said, "Convicted felons do not deserve the same treatment as law-abiding citizens, especially those that manufacture, transport or distribute drugs."

And so thousands of Californians -- among them breast-feeding women, the old, the ill, parents of young children, many of them convicted only on possession charges and long cured of their addiction -- are denied food stamps and federal benefits under TANF, Temporary Aid for Needy Families (called CalWORKs in this state). The food stamps cost the state nothing.

The federal law makes no tender distinctions between first offenders and career drug dealers, between adolescents and adults. And while children of drug offenders can still get food stamps, when a parent is denied benefits, the children inevitably suffer as well.

It's the poor, who need the aid, who bear the brunt of the law's effects; big-time dealers don't need food stamps.

Now a new bill, AB 767 by Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, is moving through the Legislature. The bill, which narrowly passed the Assembly in mid-May, would cover only drug offenders convicted of use or possession who have completed a drug treatment program, who are in a program or who are willing to participate in such a program. Drug traffickers would still be subject to the lifetime ban.

The bill has a good chance in the Senate, but the governor has not yet indicated whether he would sign it.

Although he's famously averse to anything linked to poverty, this is one that would serve the general welfare, not just the individuals who would directly benefit from it.

Because AB 767 would eliminate the clumsy contradiction between help and punishment, the imminent implementation of Prop. 36, which voters approved last fall, makes Goldberg's bill particularly urgent.

If offenders who otherwise qualify for food stamps were not denied those benefits precisely when they most needed them, the odds of successful treatment would be considerably enhanced. (The Goldberg bill also would cover people serving prison terms and all those convicted since the welfare reform law was passed in 1996.)

It's a no-brainer. "The denial of aid," said Casey McKeever of the Western Center on Law and Poverty, "can cause serious problems, especially mothers of children who are attempting recovery but need economic support in the process. Some drug treatment programs depend on public assistance to cover clients' expenses."

In some cases, residential treatment centers require their patients to give them their food stamps -- in turn decreasing the cost to the agencies, including taxpayers, which fund those facilities. That makes the drug felony law, as Mr. Bumble said, "a ass, a idiot," undermining with one rule the treatment and rehabilitation that public policy otherwise so earnestly pretends to encourage.

It's not the only such federal law. Another, passed in 1998, denies anyone convicted of a drug offense all rights to federal student loans and grants for at least a year and often longer. Again, no other category of crime -- robbery, murder, rape -- triggers such a penalty.

Until this year, the feds were casual in enforcement -- students who failed to answer an application question on drug convictions, as 279,000 did last year, got their grants anyway.

The Bush administration now will deny the loans to anyone who doesn't answer. Not surprisingly, students and college financial aid officials are organizing against it.

Both laws are artifacts of an era, increasingly repudiated by American voters, when interdiction and punishment were the only effective weapons of drug control.

But in the case of the food stamp rule, the Legislature and governor have an easy alternative: Pass AB 767. If they do, they'll send Washington another signal that there are smarter ways to combat drugs.

Schrag writes for the Sacramento Bee.

Source: Contra Costa Times (CA)
Author: Peter Schrag
Published: June 3, 2001
Copyright: 2001 Contra Costa Newspapers Inc.
Website: http://www.contracostatimes.com/
Contact: http://www.contracostatimes.com/contact_us/letters.htm

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http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread9897.shtml

Bush To Enforce Financial Aid Drug Law
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread9393.shtml

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http://cannabisnews.com/thcgi/search.pl?K=treatment


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Comment #18 posted by hotdawg on August 09, 2002 at 14:30:49 PT:

Lets be politically correct
thats "n¡ggers and sp¡cs" buts lets be politically correct "Silverbacks,and spics also spade,and spook would have been acceptable

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #17 posted by gypsy on July 06, 2001 at 00:29:56 PT:

food stamps
I just deleted all I wrote. When rereading it I realized I had written my story. I don't want to do that. I would just like to say this decision is a big mistake. Our government is saying it' ok to rape and murder then get food stamps. But get caught with a joint and no food stamps for you. Is this a good thing for our children to grow up with. Knowing in the governments eyes you can be forgiven for rape, burglery, murder, fraud and theft. But never, can you ever be forgiven of smoking a joint.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #16 posted by kaptinemo on June 05, 2001 at 09:23:26 PT:

More Social Darwinism
What's that? Simply this:

From http://www.allston.org/josh/socialdarwinismf99.htm

"William Graham Sumner wrote in 1879: “Let it be understood that we cannot go outside of this alternative: liberty, inequality, survival of the fittest; non-liberty, equality, survival of the unfittest. The former carries society forward and favors all its best members; the latter carries society downwards and favors all its worst members.” Sumner utilizes a Darwinian argument to suppose that natural selection should be applied to human society and economics. Essentially it is argued that social welfare programs corrupt the natural process of survival of the fittest by aiding the procreation of those not “fit” to prosper in modern human society.

(Like 'druggies"? Like all those N*****s and S***s on welfare? Like all the rumored Welfare Queens riding around in Cadillacs? And the biggest question of all: Who decides the 'fitness' of an individual or group as being below par? -k.)

This concept is referred to as Social Darwinism and has been widely accepted by many philosophers, economists and politicians. But there are also many criticisms of this argument; quite a few question the use Darwin’s theory and writings to support a belief many see as contrary to these very works.

No kidding.

Unfortunately, these ideas are at the very heart of neo- (as opposed to true) conservatism. They have been the core of nearly all the political machinations of the Republican Party in the past 21 years. And lest anybody new here get the wrong impressions, I mistrust the Dems as much as I do the Reps; a pox on both their houses.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #15 posted by dddd on June 05, 2001 at 06:53:32 PT
thank YOU
Right on,,Mr Weed 1.....thank you for the excellent comment....

...dont be shy.

JAH Shine on You Always


dddd


[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #14 posted by Mr. Weed 1 on June 05, 2001 at 06:35:17 PT:

Food stamps and drug law
Nothing surprises me out of our fascist government anymore. I used to be proud to be an American but as I have grown wiser I have seen how the rich protect the rich and the powerfull protect the powerfull, and the old saying the rich get richer as the poor get poorer rings so true throughout not just the slums anymore but the bluecollar middle and even uppermiddleclass of today who make these fascist capitalists all their bucks. As a former food stamp recipient I know first hand what it is like to be so hungry my stomach shrunk to the point when food was availiable I couldn't eat anyhow, as well as the incredible stress of providing for my kids. I got to the point of almost taking my head off with an a.k 47, before the Lord rescued me from that thought through the beautifull eyes of my kids, and the help of others who brought me out of the deepest depression I had ever been in since the loss of my mother. The people who helped me out the most along the way were compassionate cannabists not the government with their measley 2 dollars in food stamps which I told them was not even enough to pay for the ink for paperwork much less the money for their bogus face to face interview which of course required bus fare as well. I wanted to be a cop before I became an activist several years ago for cannabis legalization and new ways to handle the war on drugs other than caging people like unwanted animals, needless to say my heart wouldn't allow me to enforce laws I myself did not agree with and unlike many cops I am not the kind of person who can ethically look the other way, so I quickly abandoned that aspiration. I know also how a very good hearted otherwise law abideing citizen can contemplate commiting a crime to obtain money to feed their loved ones and when I got to that point it scared the hell out of me as I'd never had such wicked thoughts cross my mind ever and until now was ashamed that I had ever entertained that thought. When a man and family are starving no matter how good of a person they are they think of ways to obtain food, so if the capitalists get their way in this bill you can bet your boots the crimewave will increase dramatically, most don't have the self restraint that yours truly does this is fact, but I guess thats what the richman wants is to put everyone else in a cage but himself. Thanks for your time.

Mr. Weed 1

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #13 posted by dddd on June 05, 2001 at 02:36:19 PT
A#*holes
"Convicted felons do not deserve the same treatment as law-abiding citizens, especially those that manufacture, transport or distribute drugs."

It is indeed unfortunate to once again hear such a statement
of grand idiocy from Davis.I'm almost ashamed to admit I voted
for him in an anti-republican haze.He's just another example of
the false difference between the Democans and Republicrats...
..I still sorta think that the Democrats are slightly the lesser of
the two evils,,but that's like saying;"getting killed is not quite as
bad as dying".

If you ask me,,Phil Gramm,and Bob Barr,are classic examples of
A#%holes,,,,,,unfortunately,,they are only a small part of a huge
list that includes Davis........
I always try not to "hate" anybody,,because hate is a negative vibration,
and it's bad HooDoo to hold hate in your heart,but it's not easy to avoid
hating these weird people,,so instead of hating them,I'll settle for calling them assholes..
....it helps.

.....dddd

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #12 posted by Dan B on June 04, 2001 at 22:53:07 PT:

Re: Kubby as Governor
Pontifex et al., you can find out about Steve Kubby running for governor of California and Michelle Kubby running for Lieutenant Governor on the platform of outright legalization of cannabis if you go to http://www.pot-tv.net and click on the latest episode of "The Kubby Files."

I'm tempted to move out there just for the opportunity to vote for him, but I'll likely remain in Texas, where I'll have the opportunity to vote against Phil Gramm again (that bastard!).

Dan B

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #11 posted by SWAMPIE on June 04, 2001 at 19:13:34 PT
FOOD STAMPS/WEAPONS
tHERE SEEMS TO BE AN ANNOYING TREND OF TAKING AWAY ANYONES MONEY WHEN "THEY"TGINK YOU DON'T FIT "THEIR"REQUIREMENTS OF A SOCIAL "BEING".IF YOU ARE ANYTHING OTHER THAN PURE-WHITE,HAVE LONG HAIR,LOOK LIKE YOUR EYES ARE TOO CLOSE TOGETHER,FART,ETC......YOU DON'T FIT IN "THEIR WORLD"....BUT,I'VE ALSO SEEN [AND I KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE]ALOT OF THOSE THAT ARE RACIALLY-PROFILED TO BE IN THE LOCAL STORE AND BUY $200.00 IN LOTTERY TICKETS,AND THEN BUY $5.00WORTH OF BOLOGNA AND CHEESE TO FEED THEIR KIDS,AND WALK AWAY WITH A $900.00 BALANCE ON THEIR FOOD STAMP CARD!!!!!IT'S NO WONDER THAT THEY TRY AND DO MTAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SYSTEM,THEY ARE A DOMINANT PART OF THE POPULATION,EVEN IF THEY DON'T VOTE~!!!WHAT A SHAME THAT MOST OF THOSE SAME PEOPLE WON'T AGREE TO LEGALIZATION,BECAUSE THEN MOST OF THEIR RELATIVES:I.E.COUSINS WOULDN'T HAVE ANT WORK.....GO FIGURE....I RECENTLY BROUGHT UP THIS TOPIC WITH SOME MINORITY FRIENDS,AND THEY COULDN'T BELIEVE WHAT I WAS SAYING!!!!THEY SAID NOBODY WOULD HAVE ANY WORK,AND THE FOOD-STAMPS WOULDN'T MAKE IT!HOW DO WE SOLVE THIS DILEMMA?I KNOW THE AVERAGE ANSWER IS "GET A JOB",BUT THERE WILL BE ALOT MORE PEOPLE THAN JOBS!!!THE RICH WON'T TRUST EM,AND THE POOR CAN'T FEED 'EM!!!ANY THOUGHTS? SWAMPIE

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #10 posted by Pontifex on June 04, 2001 at 13:06:52 PT:

You really can't write him off!
I just missed Dobbs' post. So Kubby IS running again?
God bless that man! He's a credit to our state.

"Bob", where can we find info on Kubby's next bid?

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #9 posted by Pontifex on June 04, 2001 at 13:05:10 PT:

Another nail in Gray Davis' political coffin
It seems the only good thing left to say about Gray
Davis is that Dan Lundgren would have been worse.
As if leading a hopeless kamikaze attack against power
prices weren't bad enough, now Davis is defying
manifest public opinion in the War on Drugs.

Why did Californians elect such an evil idiot? I think it's
because Davis managed to offend less people than
Lundgren during the campaign. He has more than
made up for it by now.

I worked in the O.C. headquarters of Steve Kubby's '98
gubernatorial campaign. He and Gene Cisewski ran
an excellent campaign with limited funds. Davis and
Lundgren raised hundreds of thousands from their
political thralls. Kubby had to make do with
heartbreaking $25 donations from retirees and
students. Almost every media mention was positive;
Kubby was on the campaign trail virtually every day. Yet
he was shut out of the debates and received a
comparative handful of votes.

It would be nice if he would run again, if only so the 2%
of us who vote on principle would have a positive
reason to go to the polls. But of course, the Placer
County DA did a hatchet job on his family and finances,
ultimately forcing him into exile in British Columbia. I
don't think he'll be venturing back into the snake pit of
California politics any time soon... but he's a man of
incredible courage and resolve, so you can't write him
off entirely.

The 2002 elections are only 17 months away. For
god's sake, vote for anybody except the Democratic or
Republican candidates.


[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #8 posted by J.R. Bob Dobbs on June 04, 2001 at 13:01:00 PT
Kubby for Governor!
Yes, MDG, Steve Kubby -is- planning a run for governor of California, with Michelle Kubby running for his second in command... under a platform of FULL legalization of marijuana! Hopefully, he can do for California and the USA what Marc Emery and the Marijuana Party of Canada have done north of the border!

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 04, 2001 at 12:31:55 PT
Welfare and Drugs
I get very angry about articles like this one. I thank God that I don't live in a bad inner city area. There are no jobs or job opportunities. People are trapped. They can't move because they never have enough money for food and clothing let alone relocating. The drug trade must become a way of survival. I always see this picture of how it could happen in my mind and it goes like this.
A teenage son comes home and sees his mother crying because there isn't enough money to feed them. He gets upset because he can't stand to see his mother cry and he gets into dealing drugs and takes the money home to his mother and she smiles and is happy but doesn't really ask where it came from because of her own desperation. That's how it happens in my book.


[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #6 posted by Dan Hillman on June 04, 2001 at 12:21:21 PT
Grammily values
Right, because dad grew a few plants that mom and the kids didn't even know about, everybody goes hungry.

Good ole' "family values" texans in high dudgeon, I see.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #5 posted by DdC on June 04, 2001 at 12:06:40 PT
WoD Inc. Is Anything But CounterProduct to Fascism
Double jeopardy?
Now I'm afraid it means an hours worth of Alex Trebek.

Momma's don't let your babies grow up, to be potheads.
Just starve them and kick them out of school, remove their jobs and drivers license and caging seems cool.
One way or another these drugs we will rid.
Afterall my fellow Merkins, its for the kids!
Phil Gramm and the Texas Shamms


[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #4 posted by Steven Tuck on June 04, 2001 at 11:13:23 PT:

When are we going to rise up
I hate to sound like a nut BUT the gov't has a vested intrest in continuing this to Nth degree. They will never GIVE our country back. All anyone has to do is go and read the words of Thomas Jefferson to know what must be done. A war is two-sided, this is a slaughter. We are not even allowed to carry our wounded from the battlefield. After seeing how the justice/lawsuit process works I realize we will never force freedom with courts either. They ignore our ballats and marginalize us more everyday. Wake-up Amerika it's time for a REVOLUTION.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #3 posted by Lehder on June 04, 2001 at 10:58:06 PT
The same old formula
It worked for the Nazis and it works for us: marginalize, isolate, destroy. With each new abuse the victims appear a little more depraved, their problems attributed to intrinsic inadequacies and whiich are used to justify further abuses. In the end - genocide, and anyone who has a complaint becomes a victim too. Glory to Jesus. God bless America.

How do we break the cycle? With the same weapons that set it in place: television and money. But only the government has access to them. Nongovernment opinions are suppressed and punished.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #2 posted by MDG on June 04, 2001 at 10:07:34 PT:

Gray Davis...
I can't wait for the next election. I hope Steve Kubby runs for Governor.

It's not the only such federal law. Another, passed in 1998, denies anyone convicted of a drug offense all rights to federal student loans and grants for at least a year and often longer. Again, no other category of crime -- robbery, murder, rape -- triggers such a penalty.

It's my understanding that if you have a "drug conviction", you also can't own a radio station. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong. It would be nice to use TV against the propaganda machine.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on June 04, 2001 at 10:06:07 PT:

Another Vindictive Brain Dead Law
Did I forget to say counter-productive?

It is too bad that the Constitution is no more than toilet paper these days. I remember a concept called "double jeopardy" that formerly had meaning in this country.

[ Post Comment ]


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