The California ACLU and Drug Policy Alliance, along with thousands of California sentencing reform advocates are questioning Governor Jerry Brown’s veto of what was called a “modest attempt” to reform the state’s drug laws.
According to Drug War Chronicles SB 649, sponsored by Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), would have made simple drug possession a misdemeanor, rather than a felony. The Bill passed the California legislature with bipartisan support only to be vetoed by Brown, some say due to pressure from law enforcement groups who opposed it.
Drug War Chronicles describes the veto as a costly mistake, stating, “California prisons remain overcrowded, and the more than 4,100 people currently imprisoned on simple drug possession charges only add to that burden. The cost of imprisoning them comes to $207 million a year.”