It requires that theft type crimes have a value of $950 or more before they can be treated as felonies. Second, it makes personal use of certain drugs misdemeanors, rather than felonies. Both of these changes were long overdue.
I wrote a blog several years ago, proposing that drawing the line at $400 was outdated. The law was written many years ago when that dollar amount was appropriate. Things have clearly changed and the value of the dollar just isn’t the same as when the law was written.
While I’m not a proponent of illegal drug use, neither am I so horrified by it that I think it should be a felony. I wrote a blog about this several years ago as well. There is a lot of experimentation with drugs by younger people and I definitely don’t want to see them saddled with the disability of a felony on their record. As for me, I confine my use of drugs to blood pressure medication.
I recognize that there are many people using and abusing drugs. To the extent that they and their families can deal with the issues privately, using their own time and money, I don’t want to be involved. I am, however, bothered when I feel as though I am paying for their bad choices. I would certainly do away with paying a person, suffering from some malady caused by their own drug use, in the form of disability benefits. As for the cost of drug programs through the courts and probation, to provide some early intervention, I’m okay with that.
The argument against Proposition 47, was presented the same way each time I heard it. By reducing the consequences of crimes, some people won’t be deterred from committing crime. Additionally, they focused on one drug that they called a date rape drug and the danger of making it a misdemeanor.
Just as laws like the Death Penalty and Three Strikes have undergone modifications, it was high time for the changes made by Proposition 47. Proposing or supporting this type of law is dangerous to law enforcement, prosecutors and politicians because it’s seen as being weak on crime. I’m glad the voters saw through the thin smoke screen put up by the opposition.