Prop. 36 Watchdog Issues ‘Report Cards’ on California Counties’ Implementation Plans

Press Release June 26, 2001
Media Contact

Whitney Taylor at 916-444-3751

Advocates of Proposition 36 – the new California initiative that allows for treatment instead of jail for non-violent drug offenders – issued ‘report cards’ today, grading 11 counties encompassing 75 percent of the state population on the quality of their implementation plans.

With an “A” grade, San Francisco ranked the highest, followed by San Mateo (A-), Alameda (B), Orange (B), Los Angeles (B-), Fresno (C), Riverside (C), Santa Clara (D+), San Diego (D+) and Sacramento (D). The County of San Bernardino came in last with a failing grade.

report_card_icon Advocates say the success of Prop. 36 – which goes into effect July 1 -depends fundamentally on how it is implemented in counties across the state.

“We want the people of California to get what they voted for,” said Glenn Backes, Director of Health and Harm Reduction at The Lindesmith Center – Drug Policy Foundation, a non-profit drug policy reform organization, which issued the report cards. “We are embarking on a new drug policy to break the cycle of addiction.”

Grades, based on written implementation plans submitted by each county to the State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, incorporated the following critical elements for success:

“Counties will not get away with using taxpayer money to fund more of the same failed policies,” said Whitney A. Taylor, Lindesmith-DPF’s Proposition 36 Implementation Director. “We hope these criteria will help guide them in the right direction.”

Proposition 36 – the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act – was passed by 61% of California voters last November. The California State Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) estimates that this initiative will divert approximately 37,000 low-level, non-violent drug possession offenders from incarceration into treatment at an approximate savings of $1.5 billion over 5 years to California taxpayers.

“California is leading the nation toward drug policies based on common sense, science, public health and human rights,” said Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of Lindesmith-DPF. “Soon other states, and eventually the federal government, will follow.”


The report cards are available on the web in pdf format at

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

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