Some great news for California residents, our herb toking Governor has signed Senate Bill 1449 which turns the possession of 28.5 grams of marijuana or less into a civil infraction rather than a misdemeanor. This means no court appearance, no court costs, and no criminal record, the most that will happen is you get fined up to $100.
Passage of this bill will save the state millions of dollars in court costs by keeping minor marijuana offenders out of court. The number of misdemeanor pot arrests has surged in recent years, reaching 61,388 in 2008.
The new law, which takes effect on Jan 1, 2011, will have an effect even if Californians vote to legalize marijuana by passing Prop 19. Proposition 19 leaves misdemeanor possession penalties in place for public use and smoking in the presence of children; under SB 1449, these offenses would be simple infractions.
As a California resident this is good news for me, but what I can’t understand is why don’t they just legalize it. Obviously they are realizing it’s dumb to punish the average Joe for small amounts of cannabis, so why not skip the “reduce the punishment” phase and just eliminate the punishment all together? One day it will happen, until then I’m happy with the results we’re getting!
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