Friday, April 6, 2012

De-Felonizing Drugs

Image courtesy ACLU of Northern CA.
SB 1506, a new bill introduced by Senator Mark Leno, aims at changing drug possession offense classification from felonies to misdemeanors.

Currently, the distinction between different types of drugs also yields a distinction between felonies and misdemeanors. Possession of cocaine, heroin, and Schedule III, IV and V narcotic drugs is a felony; possession of cannabis and Schedule III, IV and V nonnarcotic drugs, is a misdemeanor.

Should SB 1506 pass, possession offenses will become misdemeanors regardless of the type of drug, and moreover, they will not require registering with the police station for folks with convictions.

The ACLU of Northern California, as well as California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Drug Policy Alliance, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the California NAACP, and William C. Velásquez Institute, support the bill, arguing that it will enable a considerable shortening of prison sentences for simple possession while focusing resources on policing and drug treatment.

What do our readers think? Is there a good reason to distinguish between simple possession of different types of drugs for sentencing purposes?

1 comment:

Jesse said...

Passed by Senate Public Safety 4/17/12!