SACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Gary A. Condit (D-Ceres) announced Thursday that he will introduce anti-drug legislation that would penalize casual users by revoking professional and driver's licenses and would give the governor authority to divest state investments in countries "not exerting their best efforts to stem the flow of drugs" into the United States.
Condit, who is the Democratic candidate in a Sept. 12 special election to fill the 15th Congressional District seat vacated by the resignation of Rep. Tony Coelho (D-Fresno), was joined in announcing the legislation by Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner, a Democratic candidate for state attorney general.
Condit and Reiner acknowledged that the bill faces an uphill battle with only one month left in the current legislative session. The broad legislation would launch an assault in the war on drugs by substantially increasing penalties for first-time offenders and "hitting them where it hurts the most," Reiner said. "The casual or so-called recreational user of drugs has been given a free ride," Reiner said. The proposal would put an end to "the de facto decriminalization of drugs" that exists under the current system of light penalties for first offenders, Reiner said.
Under the proposal, professionals holding state licenses, such as physicians and barbers, would have those licenses suspended for up to one year, and elected officeholders would be forced to resign, if convicted of drug offenses. Convicted juvenile users and dealers would lose their driver's licenses until age 18 .
On a broader scale, the legislation would permanently ban financial institutions convicted of laundering drug money from doing business in California. It would also give the governor authority to divest state investments in countries seen as uncooperative in stemming the flow of drugs into the United States.