Law enforcement agencies have been aggressively pursuing a war on drugs – particularly hard drugs like crack cocaine and heroin – for decades. Imagine the uproar if someone proposed that the charge for all drug possession – even heroin – should be reduced from a felony to a mere misdemeanor. A law enforcement group has done that, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. A prime promoters of the idea is San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, who has joined with San Diego Police Chief Bill Landsdowne to push a measure they hope to get on the state ballot in November.
If passed, it would make possession of any drug, including heroin, for personal use a misdemeanor. Dan Newman, a political strategist working on the bill, says there is surprising unanimity between the political right and left on this one. The roll call of rock-ribbed conservatives who back the idea is stunning. It runs from former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese to libertarian U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). “If they can get it to the ballot, it will pass,” says Barry Krisberg of the University of California Berkeley. “There’s been polling on this, and 60 percent of Californians say just because someone uses drugs, they don’t want that person to be incarcerated.”