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Initiative Seeks Tougher Penalties For Drug Distribution Resulting In Death

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Sacramento, CA– Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber announced the initiation of a new petition drive for a proposed initiative that aims to increase prison sentences and mandate warnings of potential homicide charges for distributing specific drugs resulting in death. The Attorney General, responsible for crafting the legal title and summary required on initiative petitions, has outlined the official language.

The initiative, identified as an Initiative Statute, introduces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 to 12 years, coupled with potential homicide charges, for the distribution of certain opiates leading to a user’s death. The measure also subjects such offenses to enhanced penalties under the Three Strikes Law. It mandates courts to inform individuals convicted of drug offenses for specified drugs, including fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and PCP, about potential homicide charges if someone dies from the drugs they provide.

According to estimates by the Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance, the initiative could lead to increased state criminal justice system costs in the tens of millions annually, mainly due to a rise in the state prison population. However, it is anticipated to result in reduced county criminal justice system costs, likely in the millions annually, primarily attributed to a decrease in the number of individuals in county jail and under county community supervision. The Secretary of State has assigned tracking number 1965 to this measure, while the Attorney General’s tracking number is 23-0023A1.

To proceed to the ballot, the proponent, Matthew Capelouto, must collect signatures from 546,651 registered voters, equivalent to five percent of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2022 general election. Capelouto has 180 days to circulate petitions, with the deadline for submitting signatures to county elections officials set for May 7, 2024. The proponent’s contact information is as follows: c/o Richard Temple, 2121 Natomas Crossing Drive, Suite 200-313, Sacramento, CA 95834-3848, email:, phone: (916) 447-8186.