New initiative could reverse Prop. 47, increase penalties for drugs, smash and grabs

The initiative would put an end to the leniency allowed through Proposition 47, leading to an explosion of crime in recent years in California.

A new initiative has entered circulation that would increase penalties for drug and theft crimes, reversing parts of Proposition 47.

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber announced Friday that the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act can begin collecting signatures. 


The big picture: The initiative would walk back Proposition 47, which was passed by California voters in 2014 and reclassified certain crimes from felonies to misdemeanors if the value of the crime did not exceed $950. 

  • Under the proposed initiative, drug possession, including fentanyl, and theft would be classified as felonies if the crimes affect less than $950. 
  • Defendants would be charged with felonies only if they have two prior drug or two prior theft convictions. 
  • Defendants can have their charges dismissed if they plead guilty to felony drug possession and complete treatment. 
  • Judges could impose an enhanced penalty on offenders who steal, damage or destroy property with at least two other people or by causing losses of $50,000 or more. 
  • Thomas Hiltachk, the managing partner at Sacramento based Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk LLP law firm, is the proponent of the measure.
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