Public Comments for: HB619 - Controlled substances; substance shall not include mere residue that is not a usable quantity, etc.
Simply put, it's cruel and unusual to give someone 10 years in prison for possessing a microdose that couldn't get a mouse high. It's really quite possible that there is a detectable amount of drugs on the currency in the wallets of those members of the committee reading this testimony. Are these people really so evil that you should allow this draconian law to continue?
SAARA of Virginia is in full support of this bill
As a Registered Peer Recovery Specialist and as a Peer Specialist Trainer, I know it is critical that people with current and prior drug offenses be allowed to work on their recovery in the community and be able to avail themselves of treatment of their substance use (and often co-occurring mental health) disorders rather than face jail time and the limited access to recovery services while incarcerated. Jails and prisons are not and should not be considered treatment centers.
I whole heartedly support you TO REDUCE DRUG POSSESSION CHARGES FROM A FELONY TO A MISDEMEANOR Six big things reclassifying possession of drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor can do: 1) Save taxpayer dollars 2) Safely reduce incarceration 3) Invest in alternatives to prison, including drug treatment 4) Keep families together 5) Improve police-community relations 6) Let people work in jobs they're best at, improving the local tax base
HB612 -- Support. Class 1 misdemeanor punishment is more than sufficient for punitive purposes and does not civilly disable people via a felony conviction. HB619 -- Support. It is entirely possible that an individual could be in possession of drug paraphernalia with drug residue on it and never have possessed the drugs themselves. This bill addressed that scenario and forecloses a wrongful conviction on that basis. HB797 -- People in prison are paid pennies on the dollar for their work, and they owe non-waivable court costs on their release. Simple fairness calls for at least giving them the fair value of their wage as an offset against costs that are assessed regardless of indigency or degree of culpability. A basic human-rights measure. HB799 -- At the pennies on the dollar that people in prison are paid, it is impossible for them to make a meaningful effort to pay court costs. It is unfair to compound their regressive taxation by charging them interest for nonpayment that is by definition beyond their control.