Marijuana: California Decriminalization Bill Headed for Assembly Floor Vote

Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is already quasi-decriminalized under a decades-old state law, but now, a bill that would complete that process has passed the state Senate and on Tuesday was approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee. The bill will now go for an Assembly floor vote and, if passed, will then head for the governor's desk.

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Mark Leno
Under current law, people caught with an ounce of less of pot are charged with a misdemeanor, even though they are subject to a fine of no more than $100. The bill, SB 1449, would maintain the maximum $100 fine, but would downgrade the offense from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), and passed the committee on a 4-1 vote with no discussion.

Similar measures have been introduced at various points over the years and have passed the Senate three times, only to fail in the Assembly. This time around, sponsors are hopeful that, given the cost savings in the bill (no court costs), the state's ongoing budget crisis, and the support of prosecutors and the court system, the Assembly will finally approve the measure.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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