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A new poll finds that 70 percent of Californians support lighter penalties for personal drug use

Mercer 13342

The San Francisco Sentinel

State Senator Mark Leno wants to reduce the number of drug offenders in jail.

According to a new poll by Tulchin Research in San Francisco, 70 percent of Californians want to reduce the penalties for personal drug use. 

The poll was commissioned by supporters of California State Senator Mark Leno's new bill, SB 1506, which would make simple drug possession a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year behind bars as well as fines and probation. At the moment, possession of most drugs carries a felony, which means more time behind bars and lifelong labeling as a "felon," which comes with its own societal penalties. 

In 2010, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger essentially de-criminalized recreational marijuana under state law when he reduced possession of an ounce or less from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Personal use of other drugs, however--like heroin, cocaine, concentrated canabis, methamphetamines, and quaaludes —consistently carries high penalties, up to 1-3 years behind bars.