Drug-Treatment Reform Controversial

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, June 29, 2006

Members of the Drug Policy Alliance have asked Governor Schwarzenegger to veto the bill.  If he signs it, they’ll file suit, seeking an injunction.  That’s partly because the measure – passed as part of the budget package - changes the drug treatment program created by proposition 36.  It gives judges the option to jail relapsed drug offenders for two to five days.  Nikos Leverenz with the Drug Policy Alliance says that’s unconstitutional, and there’s a larger issue at stake too:

“This has implications beyond just prop 36.  The legislature is saying that any initiative past, present or future is subject to legislative re-write.”

Supporters of the change point out that many offenders don’t complete the program and say judges need the option.The bill includes a provision that says if a court strikes down the bill, it go to a vote of the people.  Opponents say that’s unconstitutional, as well.