Guv Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill
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Guv Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill
Posted by CN Staff on October 01, 2010 at 17:18:37 PT
By Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Sacramento -- Citing the need to reduce spending on prosecution and courts, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a measure that makes marijuana possession an infraction, on par with traffic and littering tickets.The Republican governor's unexpected support for the measure comes one month before voters decide whether to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana in California.
"In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket," wrote Schwarzenegger, who opposes Proposition 19, the marijuana initiative.The law, which takes effect immediately, reduces possession of up to an ounce of marijuana - about the amount that will fit in a sandwich-size bag - from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Already, marijuana possession was the only misdemeanor under California law that didn't allow for jail time.But the measure by State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, eliminates the need for police to book people caught with marijuana and for courts to hold jury trials on the matter. Those caught with the drug would not get a conviction of their criminal record.Schwarzenegger, facing a $19 billion state budget deficit, also signed another bill this week aimed at saving the state money by keeping more people out of state prison. That measure raised the threshold for grand theft from $400 to $950.The penalty for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana was already limited to a $100 fine and potential, court-mandated treatment. But the law's passage appears to reflect a gradual shift in the way Californians view marijuana, and the drug's treatment under the law. Snipped   Complete Article: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)Author: Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Sacramento BureauPublished: Friday, October 1, 2010Copyright: 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Contact: letters sfchronicle.comWebsite: CannabisNews   -- Cannabis Archives
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