First-Ever Latino Voter Poll on Drug Policy in California Finds that Majority Oppose Jailing Low-Level Drug Offenders

Press Release July 1, 2003
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Glenn Backes at 916-439-6494 or Jim Gonzalez at 916-233-8526

SACRAMENTO — A first-of-its-kind survey released today of Latino voters in California found that an overwhelming majority believe in drug policies that are far less severe than current state drug laws. For example, 65% of Latino voters surveyed said that they did not support incarcerating a young adult convicted of marijuana sale for the first time, if the drug was sold to an adult. Current state law makes sale of even the smallest amount of marijuana punishable by up to four years in prison.

“The conventional wisdom has been that neighborhoods that were slammed by drugs and gangs supported tough sentencing laws,” said Alberto Mendoza of the Drug Policy Alliance, the group that commissioned the poll. “But after a 30-year drug war that has failed families and communities, the tide of popular opinion has turned. Latinos now overwhelmingly support alternatives to incarceration.”

This poll is to be presented to members of the Latino Legislative Caucus today at a lunch briefing in the capitol. Antonio Gonz

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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