California Senator Mark Leno, a democrat from San Francisco proposed earlier this week that simple drug possession be charges be misdemeanors instead of their current felony status. He argued that such a change would reduce overcrowding in the state's prisons. The senator also argued, "In fact, time behind bars and felony records often have horrible unintended consequences for people trying to overcome addiction because they are unlikely to receive drug treatment in prison and have few job prospects and educational opportunities when they leave."
It should be noted that the proposed law is for "simple" possession, and does not apply to drug possession with an intent to sell. Drug Possession with the intent to sell is a much more serious allegation with tougher obstacle for a criminal defense attorney to deal with.
His bill, Senate Bill 1506 is co-sponsored by the ACLU and the NAACP. Thirteen other states already have this law. The new law would apply to possession of cocaine, heroin, hashish, methamphetamine and amphetamines, and others. It could save tax payers millions of dollars.
If Kansas lawmakers were to enact such a law, it would change a drug possession charge from a Level 4 drug felony, to a class a misdemeanor. The misdemeanor still carries a potential 1 year jail sentence. However, as a Kansas criminal defense lawyer, I don't anticipate Kansas legislators doing this anytime soon.