Any form of criminal conviction leaves a mark on your record that can greatly affect your future prospects. You may struggle to find employment, be viewed differently by the people around you, or even be at a disadvantage in child custody disputes. One area where drug offenses have differed from other crimes though, is the matter of food stamps. Since 1996, drug felons have not been allowed to participate in the program.

In contrast, people convicted of crimes such as murder or rape remain eligible for the stamps. However, the situation is about to change as the California Assembly has recently voted to permit those with nonviolent drug-related convictions to use the program once again. All that is needed is the approval of the state’s Governor, which is expected.

The move is part a of drive to combat hunger and poverty via reformation of drug policies. However, those convicted of drug crimes still face serious detriment to their options. They lose the right to vote, to adopt, to take out student loans or hold professional licenses, and when it comes to finding work, they are subject to legal discrimination. These restrictions apply to all felons, even after they have completed their sentence to some extent, dependant upon their state of residence.

It is clear, then that being convicted of a drug crime in California is a very serious matter that can affect the rest of your life. If you are facing charges, you may find the support of an attorney both helpful and reassuring. It is important to prepare your case carefully in order to clear your name and preserve your reputation. An attorney can advise you on the best way to go about that and work toward having the charges against you dismissed.

Source: All Voices, “California to let drug felons get food stamps,” Herbert Dyer Jr., June 19, 2014