by Wyatt Buchanan
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
A San Francisco state senator believes California is ready for a significant change in how the state treats people arrested for possessing drugs and is proposing reducing criminal penalties, a shift he said may actually lead to a decrease in drug use.
Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, has introduced a bill that would change the punishment for possession of any illicit drug from a felony to a misdemeanor. The bill, SB1506, won support from a legislative committee Tuesday and if enacted into law would make California the 14th state in the country to classify drug possession as a lesser crime.
The federal government also classifies simple drug possession - including cocaine and heroin - as a misdemeanor. Simple drug possession means the substance is for personal use and is not intended to be sold.
Leno predicts the change would have multiple impacts, including reducing government costs and improving public safety, but also noted a potential significant social impact.
End/clip - More, especially re reactions, at the link above.