California bill would make cannabis possession an infraction

Posted on June 7th, 2010 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

CaliforniaWith all eyes on November's vote on cannabis legalization in California, the state Senate narrowly voted this week to reclassify possession of less than an ounce an infraction with a penalty of $100—rather than its current status as a misdemeanor with the same fine. Since possession of a less than an ounce is not punishable by jail time, "That's an infraction, by definition," according to Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the author of SB 1449. "All this bill does is call it what it is—an infraction. It doesn't change the penalties."

Misdemeanor cannabis possession arrests have increased, reaching 61,388 in 2008, notes Leno, adding that misdemeanor defendants can request a jury trial, even if the maximum penalty that can be imposed is a $100 fine. "Our courts are clogged," Leno said, calling it a "waste of time" and resources to try someone for possession of less than an ounce of cannabis.

Leno's got the support of the California Judicial Council and the California District Attorneys Association—and the opposition of the California Narcotics Association and California Police Chiefs Association. (OC Weekly, June 4)



Schwarzenegger signs new decrim measure

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Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill by state Senator Mark Leno today that further decriminalizes personal possession of marijuana, downgrading it from a misdemeanor, like tagging, to an infraction, like a traffic ticket. Some 60,000 Californians are arrested yearly for misdemeanor pot possession, giving them a criminal record and forcing them to appear in court and pay a fine. Enforcing the state's pot laws, which has done nothing to tamp down on monthly usage by four million Californians, costs the state about $1 billion a year, the Cato Institute has found. (Legalization Nation, Oct. 1)


Comment by Global Ganja Report on Oct 7th, 2010 at 3:01 am

After California decrim, teen arrest, dropout rates fell

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 A new report from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice adds to the growing body of evidence that legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana does not lead to any number of doomsday scenarios envisioned by legalization opponents. Looking specifically at California, where full marijuana decriminalization went into effect on Jan. 1, 2011, the report finds that "marijuana decriminalization in California has not resulted in harmful consequences for teenagers, such as increased crime, drug overdose, driving under the influence, or school dropout. In fact, California teenagers showed improvements in all risk areas after reform." (WP, Oct. 15)

Comment by Global Ganja Report on Oct 27th, 2014 at 1:55 am

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