Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to approve a bill to allow drug consumption sites
A pilot program for safe drug sites through a California bill has now grabbed its bags to head to the governor’s desk. The vote held yesterday in the Senate seems to have gone swimmingly, and now Gavin Newsom’s signature is closer to becoming a reality.
Senator Scott Wiener is the one who initially brought the measure to life, which previously passed the House and then was amended and passed in the Assembly two months ago. In a 21-11 vote, Senate members agreed to the amended bill, and as a result, it will now go to Governor Newsom’s desk.
SB 57 has been in a back-and-forth for nearly two years since it was first introduced in late 2020. It wasn’t until April of last year that it was first passed on the Senate floor. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, and Oakland would be the only eligible locations according to the text of the legislation.
Harm reduction centers could be opened in those areas under an initial volunteer pilot program. If all goes according to plan, this project is expected to last until January 1, 2028.
“We’re seeing an escalation in overdose deaths,” the senator said following Monday’s Senate vote on the bill. “These sites are a proven strategy to save lives & get folks into treatment. It’s time.”
Four years ago, then-Governor Jerry Brown vetoed similar legislation. However, Newsom’s position has been completely different. For several years the governor has proven to be an outspoken critic of the war on drugs. In fact, it was he who helped spearhead the legalization of cannabis in the Golden State.