Ex-Convicts Are Getting a Big Break in California

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Published March 24, 2010

| FoxNews.com

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Free Ride

Parole is getting a lot easier for thousands of convicted felons in the Golden State. California's budget crisis and overcrowded prisons mean no more random drug tests, travel rules or state parole officers checking on about 24,000 non-violent ex-cons who qualify.

Officials estimate the measures will save the state about $500 million in the first year. But some local law enforcement agencies and community groups worry that less supervision will lead to a spike in crime, compounding the exact problem state officials are trying to remedy.

Another effort to tackle California's budget woes — legalizing marijuana — could get a vote soon. Proponents behind an initiative to legalize personal marijuana possession and allow regulated sales of pot to adults have enough signatures to put the measure on November's general election ballot.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the initiative submitted well over the 434,000 valid signatures required.

Close to Home

The District of Columbia city council is considering allowing medical marijuana users to grow their own plants. The proposal includes five retail-style dispensaries that would not be near schools or youth centers. Users would be limited to two plants per home.

Child's Play

And finally, President Obama recently sat down for an interview with an Indonesian television station and discussed some memories from his time spent there as a young boy. This one was a new detail:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Question: Do you remember breaking someone's arm?
President Obama: Yes I do actually — by accident.
Question: You tickled a guy...
President Obama: We were riding a bike together, and he fell. I was very traumatized.
Question: He said you tickled him.You tickled him from the back...
President Obama: And we fell on the bike. I do remember that.
Question: I think he's okay.
President Obama: Is he okay? Please tell him I apologize for that. I felt so bad. I remember feeling terrible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Fox News Channel's Lanna Britt contributed to this report.

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/2010/03/24/ex-convicts-are-getting-big-break-in-california/