Villapudua pushes for fentanyl possession with firearm to be a felony

Possession of drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine alongside a firearm is a felony. Villapudua is pushing to add fentanyl to the list.

Asm. Carlos Villapudua (D–Stockton) has introduced a bill to help crack down on the fentanyl crisis plaguing California. 

Villapudua introduced Assembly Bill 2336, which follows another fentanyl bill that he got signed into law last year. 


The big picture: AB 2336 is intended to close loopholes and bring parity to how the state enforces fentanyl compared to other substances. 

  • Despite the fact that fentanyl was responsible for 62 percent of all drug-related overdose deaths in California last year – including 90 percent of opioid overdose deaths – current law is more lenient on fentanyl enforcement than other hard drugs. 
  • Last year Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 701 – authored by Villapudua – into law, which added fentanyl to the list of substances for which additional terms and fines can be imposed. 
  • Despite last year’s bill, there are still discrepancies throughout California’s drug enforcement laws that Villapudua is looking to address with his bill. Notably, current law does not provide a felony sentence for possession of fentanyl like it does for heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine or PCP alongside a firearm. 
  • AB 2336 would add fentanyl to the list of hard drugs for which it is a felony to be in possession of alongside a firearm. 

What they’re saying: “The fentanyl crisis continues to provide unimaginable grief for too many families across California,” Villapudua said. “This poison has exacerbated addiction difficulties across our streets, and claims thousands of lives every year in this state. We cannot take our eye off of this public health and safety epidemic. We must remain committed to listening to the families crying out and working with those who have been directly impacted so we can provide the appropriate support. I am grateful for the steps taken last year, and look forward to the continued momentum in holding traffickers and dangerous dealers accountable.”

  • Sen. Marie Alvarado-Gil (D–Jackson) tried to make this change last year, but it did not make it out of the Public Safety Committee. 
  • “I vehemently advocate for legislation that unequivocally criminalizes the possession of fentanyl,” said Alvarado-Gil. “This poison requires only the equivalent of two grains of salt to claim a life. It is an insidious threat that demands swift action. Combining it with firearms is a recipe for even more catastrophic consequences. It is time to send a clear message: anyone caught in possession of fentanyl and a firearm will face severe consequences. We must protect our communities, and it starts with enacting strict laws that leave no room for ambiguity or leniency.”
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