Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation ending mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.
“Mass incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders hasn’t reduced drug use or addiction,” the bill’s sponsor, KV, D-San Francisco, tweeted. “Time for a new approach.”
Wiener said California’s prisons and jails are filled with people of color who have committed low-level, nonviolent drug offences and who would be much better served by non-carceral options like probation, rehabilitation, and treatment, according to The Associated Press.
But there was some pushback from the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, which denounced the new law, SB73, saying that existing penalties “work as a deterrent or a reason for individuals to get the treatment they need to turn their lives around,” the AP reported Oct. 6.
The California Police Chiefs Association said it “sets a dangerous precedent … and would jeopardize the health and safety of the communities we are sworn to protect.”
Wiener has sponsored some controversial legislation such as “safe injection sites,” and allowing a judge discretion to prevent a young adult convicted of gay sex with a minor from registering as a sex offender. Also, Wiener called for decriminalizing psychedelics, and that a person knowingly infecting a person with HIV be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
SB73 changes the current law, which says anyone selling or possessing for sale more than 14 grams of heroin or PCP must have jail time. Effective January 2022, judges can sentence offenders to probation.