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brownbudget.JPGGov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation easing penalties for people accused of carrying illegal drugs for their own use in California, his office announced Thursday.

Assembly Bill 721, by Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, will change the definition of "transporting" a drug to mean transporting it for sale, eliminating prosecutors' ability to bring an additional charge against someone who might otherwise be accused only of possession.

"Too many people are getting caught up in the prison system with nothing more than a small amount of drugs for personal use," Bradford said in a prepared statement. "The broad interpretation of existing law wastes resources going after users instead of dealers."

Opponents said the bill was unreasonably soft on criminals.

The bill was one of nearly 30 the Democratic governor announced action on Thursday. Brown has less than two weeks to sign or veto hundreds of more bills sent to him before the Legislature adjourned for the year.

PHOTO: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, left, Gov. Jerry Brown, center, and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, right, celebrate a budget deal with a formal announcement at the California Capitol on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench


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