Posted on March 7, 2024

San Francisco Voters Approve Drug Screening for Welfare Recipients

Janelle Griffith, NBC, March 6, 2024

San Francisco voters showed strong support for a ballot measure that requires welfare recipients who receive aid from the city and are “reasonably” suspected of using drugs to be screened and enroll in treatment.

They also favored another measure that eases restrictions on police officers.

The approvals were seen as wins for Mayor London Breed, who faces a tough re-election fight in November over concerns that she has been weak on crime. She put the measures on the ballot with the intention of improving public safety and addressing the city’s drug crisis, she has said.


Proposition E, which reduces the power of the citizen police oversight commission, garnered almost 60% of the vote. It also authorizes the police department to use drones and surveillance cameras; requires written reports for use-of-force incidents only when a physical injury occurred or when a firearm was removed from an officer’s holster; and gives police more freedom to pursue suspects in vehicles.

Proposition F requires people 65 and younger without dependents who receive cash welfare assistance from the city and it “reasonably suspects” are dependent on illegal drugs to submit to screening and treatment to remain eligible for aid. It drew more than 60% of the vote .


Jason McDaniel, an associate professor of political science at San Francisco State University, said support for the measures does not signal that the famously progressive city is moving to the right.

“It’s an overreach,” he said. “It’s an incorrect read of what’s happening. Voters are not becoming more conservative. They are still predominantly liberal and being pro-police is consistent with their liberal values.”