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The Santa Ramona Chronicles

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February Mayoral Proposals

Decriminalization of all Drugs

Decriminalization of drugs is NOT making drugs legal; this is not a step to allow drug use to become easier. Possession or being under the influence of any current illegal substance is still illegal, however the systematic incarceration for this offense will not continue. Incarceration, steep fines and jail time are not effective in the war on drugs that we all desperately wish to win. Drug addiction is a disease. Succumbing further to a disease that needs medical attention, support and care by imprisoning an individual has been proven to not help an individual beat their addiction to drugs. In fact, it has shown to INCREASE the likelihood they will not only continue with drug use, but fall further in the cracks of society to do harder drugs. Incarceration and jail time for drug possession is one of the leading causes of homelessness and one of the most prevalent diseases of the homeless is drug addiction. Do the math. We need to support and treat the drug users that are falling further into the disease of addiction, not throw them in a jail cell.

Portugal decriminalized all minor drug possession and use nearly 20 years ago. In the EU, Portugal has the lowest drug use as a direct result of this decision. Instead of pumping money into the cost to house a person in prison, they money is put to better use in treating drug users to help battle addiction. Furthermore, a functioning addict typically has a job, family and future. This disease of addiction escalates when that functioning addict receives jail time, felonies on their record and huge fines, instead of treating the addiction and helping the addict continue with gainful employment, the support of family and community. More homeless are made by incarceration than are made by the disease of addiction alone. There is not one single study that has proven incarceration can beat the disease of addiction, but nearly 50% of addicts that receive help and support for their addiction, eventually beat the disease, odds are higher with programs designed for recovery and ongoing treatment.

Following Oregon’s Progressive Legislation, the following amounts of illicit drugs in possession of an individual will be ticketed, small fines and NO jail/prison time, no Felonies:

  • Less than 1 gram of heroin

  • Less than 1 gram, or less than 5 pills, of MDMA

  • Less than 2 grams of methamphetamine

  • Less than 40 units of LSD

  • Less than 12 grams of psilocybin

  • Less than 40 units of methadone

  • Less than 40 pills of oxycodone

  • Less than 2 grams of cocaine

Still punishable with jail time, but MISDEMEANOR offense:

  • 1 to 3 grams of heroin

  • 1 to 4 grams of MDMA

  • 2 to 8 grams of methamphetamine

  • 2 to 8 grams of cocaine

Other drugs will follow suit, if not a sellable amount, decriminalization does continue. Drug dealers will still face the penalties associated with greater amounts, this is a measure to TREAT our addicts, not to let dealers continue to do business on our streets.

End of Debtors Jail:

No longer will not paying a court fine result in jail time. If a fine is not paid, the result will be as any other monetary debt not being followed through on. There is no sensible reason that non-payment of fines should warrant jail time of any sort. The cost to book, house and release a prisoner for only a short time is far more than the average fine. What reasoning for our city’s operating cost does that help with? Unpaid fines can result in loss of state tax refunds, going back into the city’s operating costs that can actually have some good come of it.

End Qualified Immunity for Police Officers and Government Officials:

“Judges have invented a legal doctrine to protect law enforcement officers from having to face any consequences for wrongdoing. The doctrine is called ‘qualified immunity.’ In real life it operates like absolute immunity.” Qualified immunity is a legal defense that can shield police officers from liability for misconduct. At first a law was created to give the individual the right to sue a police officer or government official if they had evidence of wrongdoing. However, in 1967, this was overturned so that police officers acting in “good faith” with “Probable cause” could evade any penalty for wrongdoing.

The issue with this law is that it is 100% on the victim to prove the wrongdoing of the officer as outside of “good faith” by finding a case that was already proven to be wrongdoing with the facts that match their case exactly. This allows for an officer to state they were working in their best measures and little investigation beyond that. These cases of wrongdoing against a victim never reach a court where the victim has ‘their day in court’.

For example, in 2014 a homeless man was being chased by the police for a crime that he did commit. The police had K9 units with them during this chase. He ran into an abandoned building and finally gave up, sitting down on the ground and putting his hands up in the air. After such time that he had sat down and lifted his arms in surrender, the officers unleashed the dog that would then attack the homeless man, resulting in injuries requiring medical attention. Because the victim could not find a case that exactly matched his set of circumstances, his case was not allowed to progress and was never investigated. Although all records show the dog was released after the man surrendered.

Acts of alleged police misconduct should be investigated and/or allowed to be civilly sued if the courts will not move forward on criminal charges.

Revoke the idiotic use of “resisting arrest” statutes: