I hope a trend starts:
The State Assembly on Wednesday announced that it has agreed to pass legislation to repeal much of what remains of the state’s 1970s-era drug laws.
The proposal, scheduled to come to a floor vote late Wednesday afternoon, would be the first pivotal step in a push to dismantle the laws that tied judges’ hands and imposed mandatory prison terms for many nonviolent drug offenses.
The Assembly’s proposal restores judges’ discretion in sentencing in many lower-level drug possession crimes. Judges would be able to send many offenders to treatment programs instead of prison without receiving consent from prosecutors. In addition, the measure would permit about 2,000 prisoners to apply to have their sentences reconsidered.
I don’t have the answer to many of the current issues regarding the failed War on Drugs, but I certainly have an opinion about mandatory minimums- they have got to go. And I sure hope that instead of building bigger prisons and locking up more of our citizenry for minor drug offenses, we instead spend that money on rehabilitation and drug prevention. That would be money well spent. I really hope this is the start of a new trend. We need to rethink all of our drug policies, and I think this is as good a place as any to start.
*** Update ***
A good piece in Reason about the international drug war.