Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Politics

Bill Would Reduce Charges For Drug Possession

calif-marijuana-dfc74ec83f04cdae11022418939a67ba4dffdb69_t700.jpg
Bill Would Reduce Charges for Drug Possession
A bill that passed the California Assembly today would give local prosecutors more leeway when prosecuting certain drug cases - allowing them to charge some defendants with misdemeanors instead of felonies.

A bill passed in the California Assembly on Wednesday would give local prosecutors more leeway when prosecuting certain drug cases. The bill classifies simple drug possession as a "wobbler" meaning it can be treated it as a misdemeanor or felony.

Democratic Assemblywoman Toni Atkins said 13 other states already treat simple possession as a misdemeanor.

"And what have we seen in those misdemeanor states? Lower rates of drug use among minors and adults. Higher rates of entry into drug treatment. Lower rates of violent crime. Lower rates of property crime on the average," Atkins said.

But opponents say reducing criminal charges sends the wrong message to drug users. They say the bill would also put more offenders in already strained local jails.

The bill eventually passed 41 to 30 after several members were convinced to support it. It now goes back to the Senate for a final vote.