Californians caught in the growing peyote should not expect any mercy from the criminal justice system. Judges are required by state law to convict people behind bars in good time of growing psychedelic cacti, regardless of the circumstances of the case.
This rule is one of the most clearly required minimum criminal requirements that Golden State maintains. In general, mandatory minima – for the sale, production, carrying or, for recidivists, possession of only a wide range of drugs – have become a major drug weapon and a major reason for the increase in imprisonment in California.
But that will soon change. A bill on Governor Gavin Newsom’s table would change that policy, leaving it to the judge to decide whether imprisonment was worth a drug offense. Following the signing of the bill, the state legislator Scott Wiener’s bill could be an important step on the San Francisco Legislative Agenda to change drug policy. The law will help activists alleviate the frustration of two other Wiener-related drug bills, one that criminalizes psychedelics and one that legalizes safe-eating sites that have been suspended prematurely.
At Friday’s press conference, Wiener drew a picture of how drug crimes are needed and how they affect the people of California.
“Despite our progressive reputation, California is a leader and pioneer in mass imprisonment. In the 1980s and 1990s, we increased the custodial sentence, which seemed insane, and made various improvements, set up dozens of new prisons and enforced several mandatory minimum sentences, which we counted on the judges. “As a result of this policy, we fill our prisons with people who use drugs” and “people who are addicts.” Those who are imprisoned for drug cases are not the same as blacks and Latin Americans.
Wiener’s law, SB 73, would remove mandatory minimum penalties for various drug offenses. At present, individuals convicted of possession for selling cocaine, heroin or meth face a minimum sentence of two years; and the carriage for the sale of these substances takes at least three years. Crimes such as peyote cultivation and counterfeiting also require judges to sentence suspects to imprisonment, not probation. For recidivists, the usual possession of an illegal substance for personal use can lead to mandatory minima.
If SB 73 is signed in law, judges still have the power to sentence people to prison if they believe it is necessary given the facts of the case. However, according to Jeannette Zanipatin, California’s state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, people often convicted of criminal drug crimes – usually drug trafficking – are addicted. “There are doctors who sell existence. They can sell to satisfy their own habit. Some of these individuals also need access to treatment. ”
According to Zanipatin, several prisons and prisons in California offer ample opportunities for drug treatment, which contributes to the high incidence of drug overdoses when prisoners are released.
Another advantage that SB 73 fans are proud of is cost savings. Although it is impossible to calculate the exact amount of dollars that the state will recover by removing these mandatory minimums, the fact that one to one year in prison costs $ 87,000 means that savings can be cursed. If only 10 people were given a condition they would otherwise face for at least two years, the state would save $ 1.7 million.
Of course, many more people are arrested and prosecuted in California each year for drug crimes. Of the 25,000 drug-related crimes by 2020, some 8,000 people will be convicted and more than 1,500 will be convicted by state authorities, according to the Attorney General of California.