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PROPOSITION 2000 General
Argument Against
Argument Against Proposition 36

Decriminalizes Heroin and Other Hard Drugs Proposition 36 effectively decriminalizes heroin, crack cocaine, PCP, methamphetamine, “date rape” drugs and many other illegal substances—the hard drugs behind most child abuse, domestic violence, sexual attacks and other violent and theft-related crimes in California.

Instead of offering a real solution to drug abuse, it gives up the fight.

This dangerous and misleading initiative pretends to offer a new approach to drug treatment. In fact, it hurts legitimate drug treatment programs that work—like California’s highly successful drug courts.

Proposition 36 wasn’t written by drug treatment experts. It was written by a criminal defense lawyer and funded by three wealthy out-of-state backers whose ultimate goal is to legalize drugs.

Puts Potentially Violent Drug Abusers on the Street

Proponents claim Proposition 36 deals only with non-violent drug users. In reality, it will allow an estimated 37,000 felony drug abusers to remain on our streets every year—many of them addicted to drugs that often ignite violent criminal behavior.

Even drug abusers with long histories of drug dealing, parole violations and prior felonies would escape jail. Instead, they would be diverted into “treatment” programs. But the initiative includes no safeguards or licensing guidelines to ensure these programs are effective. This opens the door to fraud, abuse and “fly-by-night” half-way houses run by people interested in money, not results. Programs offering nothing more than cassette tapes or Internet “chat rooms” could qualify for tax money.

Weakens the Law Against “Date Rape” Drugs

If Proposition 36 becomes law, serial rapists, child molesters and other sex offenders convicted of possessing “date rape” drugs could escape jail or prison. Instead, they would be given treatment.

Proposition 36 also prevents prison or jail for persons convicted of possessing illegal drugs while armed with loaded firearms, or of abusing drugs while on parole.

Proposition 36 forces employers to keep drug abusers on the job, making it easier for drug abusers to continue working as teachers, school bus drivers, even airline pilots.

Proposition 36 promises to save tax money, but former California Director of Finance Jesse Huff warns the “ultimate cost of this initiative is far higher than its promised savings. It commits taxpayers to spending $660 million and contains millions of dollars in hidden costs for law enforcement, probation and court expenses.”

Proposition 36 spends $660 million in tax money, but prohibits any of this money from being used for drug testing. Testing is vital because it holds drug abusers accountable during treatment. Without testing, there is no way to prove treatment is working.

Sends the Wrong Message to Our Kids

Proposition 36 tells our children there are no longer any real consequences for using illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine. It sends the same message to hardcore drug abusers.

Don’t be fooled. This dangerous and misleading initiative threatens public safety and hurts our ability to help drug abusers conquer their addictions with treatment programs that really work.

Betty Ford Center
ALAN M. CROGAN, President
Chief Probation Officers of California
California District Attorneys Association

  Analysis by the Legislative Analyst
  Argument in Favor of Proposition 36
  Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Proposition 36
  Argument Against Proposition 36
  Rebuttal to Argument Against Proposition 36

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