The pro-marijuana brigade is unhappy with Gov. Jerry Brown's latest budget proposal, noting that he's refused to do as they say and reduce minor drug possession cases from felonies to misdemeanors, a move that could save California hundreds of millions.
It's a little ironic, too. Brown was once considered so liberal, at least by conservative foes, that they called him Governor Moonbeam in the 1970s.
Today he's Governor Downer. The Drug Policy Alliance, the ACLU and the Ella Baker Center state that Brown …
… left out safe and simple sentencing reforms that would ensure that the plan is effective and affordable. The governor's plan keeps people convicted of minor felonies at the county level instead of in state prison. Advocates highlighted, however, that a key part of the solution lies in changing minor offenses from felonies to misdemeanors so that the punishment and its associated taxpayer cost fits the crime.
The groups say reducing the level of crime for small-time possession would free up cash for schools and even crime prevention.
They also want to see other low-level crimes like non-violent property offenses, vandalism and writing a bad check misdemeanors as well.
“Sacramento needs to end excessive incarceration for petty offenses to reduce costs and to preserve funding for crime prevention, including drug treatment.” states Theshia Naidoo, staff attorney for the Drug Policy Alliance.