New York State Decriminalizes Recreational Marijuana Use
New York state this week decriminalized recreational marijuana use, Reuters reports. Possession of small amounts of marijuana will be punished with fines instead of jail time.
A growing number of states are loosening or lifting bans on government benefits for people with felony drug convictions, PBS NewsHour reports. Two decades ago, a federal law prohibited people with felony drug convictions from receiving welfare or food stamps.
Georgia and Alaska recently lifted the ban on food stamps for people convicted of drug felonies. In Alaska, applicants must prove they are complying with parole and are being treated for substance abuse. The changes reflect an increasing consensus that helping people when they are released from prison can reduce the chance they will end up back behind bars.
Only Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia still fully ban food stamps for those convicted of drug felonies.