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California Governor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) Thursday signed into law a bill that decriminalizes the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. The bill reduces simple possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction.

Currently, small-time pot possession is "semi-decriminalized" in California. There is no possible jail sentence and a maximum $100 fine. But because possession is a misdemeanor, people caught with pot are "arrested," even if that means only they are served a notice to appear, and they must appear before a court.

That has happened to more than a half million Californians in the last decade, and more than 60,000 last year alone. Every one of them required a court appearance, complete with judge and prosecutor. That costs the cash-strapped state money it desperately needs.

Under the bill signed today, SB 1449, by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), marijuana possession will be treated like a traffic ticket. The fine will remain at $100, and there will be no arrest record.

In a signing statement, Schwarzenegger said he opposed decriminalization for personal use -- and threw in a gratuitous jab at Proposition 19, the tax and regulate marijuana legalization initiative -- but that the state couldn't afford the status quo.

"I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name," said Schwarzenegger. "The only difference is that because it is a misdemeanor, a criminal defendant is entitled to a jury trial and a defense attorney. 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."

"Gov. Schwarzenegger deserves credit for sparing the state's taxpayers the cost of prosecuting minor pot offenders," said California NORML director Dale Gieringer. "Californians increasingly recognize that the war on marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources."

The law goes into effect January 1. Even if Prop 19 passes in November, it leaves in place misdemeanor charges for smoking in public or in the presence of minors. Those misdemeanors would become infractions under the new law.

Sacramento, CA
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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in response to "CA will now officially become (if it isn't) Mexico's primary gateway state into the US as far as the cartels are concerned... greeeeat. :("  This so called "gateway" to Mexican cartels would close if marijuana was legalized within US borders.  The only reason weed is purchased from the cartel is because of the demand.  Since it is currently illegal to cultivate large amounts of marijuana in America we are outsourcing all of the benefits that come with the creation of a new market to foreign criminals including profits, potential jobs, and taxes.  With legalization all of the potential would now come to California.

Think of the possibilities that would come with a "California Green Rush." i cant promise taxes coming directly from selling and distributing weed mostly because i think most of that money will remain unclaimed on taxes.  To speculate on how much money weed could bring in is just that, speculative.  But even though the weed gets smoked that money still ends up in the hands of somebody... your dealer.  Well unless your dealer tucks all of their hard earned cash under a mattress, the money is most likely going to end up in circulation again eventually.  whether its used on a new tv, a new car, or a new house taxes will be claimed and taxes will be collected.

Also think of the potential increase in sales in fast food, groceries, and tourism etc...  It would indirectly revitalize other markets that are suffering severely from the markets most recent recession.  California would be to the US what amsterdam is to Europe.  We would be the mecca of all that is herbal.  We already have the reputation with the product to back it up.  Cali strains would be coveted world wide.  Tell me how this is a bad thing...

Your simply wrong.

Your wrong. Not only is Marijuana continually proven to have no harmful effects on the body besides the obvious effects of inhaling smoke. Both cigarettes and alcohol are more dangerous to human health and combined cause more deaths in the US then any other cause. Marijuana has caused zero deaths. Pot smokers don't commit crimes, when over half of all crimes are committed while the person is intoxicated. Civilians are receiving jail sentences and fines for the simple act of smoking marijuana. The prohibition isn't protecting our citizens, it is incarcerating thousands of them. I wouldn't want my kid to be subject to the criminal justice system as a result of a petty marijuana offense. Nearly 2/3 of our national spending on the so called "drug war" goes to prevent marijuana use. What about Heroin and Crack and other drugs that actually ruin peoples lives. The idea to create a legal marijuana industry in  the united states would reduce border crime, increase revenue from taxes (only from marijuana smokers). There are no negative effects of ending the prohibition. This issue is aroused because of a miss informed public and politicians and big corporations with agendas of their own. Before you make claims like that be sure to have at least a little bit of an idea of what your talking about.

 "Prop 19 is ridiculous,

 "Prop 19 is ridiculous, aside from the smoking MJ around minors part. Anyone who wants it in large quantities will grow it themselves if it passes - effectively eliminating all of this "tax money" people keep harping about."

You are so dumb. How many cigarette smokers grow their own tobacco? What makes you think casual weed smokers would too?


you are a misinformed idiot

Alright first of dude you

Alright first of dude you tell me where weed shorts a persons life and ill show u a lier ok weed dont shorten a persons life you lose brain cells get it right dude 

Maybe not to lose your

Maybe not to lose your career?  State, Federal, Employers has to be on the same page. Its a false sense of freedom even for a medical patient enrolled in the california health dept . If the medical patients are not protected now under 215. Do you think recreational users will be protected under 19?  Hey vote for this . But oh btw you cant work at any job that has a drug test screen or random testing (which i think is a large percent). If you do you risk losing your job.

Again seems an abuse of power and mixed message to the average citizen trying to understand his rights.

So even if this passes its knowing going in.. you are going to be discriminated upon by employers as they do not recognize it. The supreme court has given employers in california that right (as read on americans for safe access). We need to overturn that or reform that area.

what about alcohol....pharmaceuticals....etc...

are you for making those illegal?

I am for ending prohibition

I am for ending prohibition on this plant 100% to include agricultural use,textiles and paper etc.  No man or government should have this power over another man. The history of the plant is tainted with misinformation and what i feel is foul play.

Its an abuse of power period.  And the misinformation  continues to be perpetuated and is embedded in many areas federal,law enforcement,labor laws etc. Its suggesting the powers at be or another citizen knows my body better than me and that is insanity. That crosses a line with me.

I do not think intention of ending prohibition on alcohol was not meant to cater to people drunk driving, and abusing. And the same is the case for ending cannabis prohibition.

Should we ban alcohol and your pain killers or sleeping pills since many have abused them and even killed? how about cigarettes. No your given the right to these substances if used responsibly and in cases of prescriptions as prescribed.


I agree

Alcohol and prescriptions pill addictions cost us more in taxes for state drug programs and prisoner housing. Not to mention alcohol related DUI percentage; you hear about drunk drivers killing people, right? The overall effect of alcohol on the human body and mind compared to marijuana in much more devastating. And not only does it destroy the human body and mind but the loved ones of alcoholic/prescription pill abusers are greatly effected as well. Trust.

Don't assume that everyone

Don't assume that everyone that is against prop 19 is a right wing conservative, because I am as right as you can get and I am for legalization.


We welcome all right wing smart people to the legalization table!!!!

Fuck Politics. Its all a stupid game created for us to distract us while our rights being taken away by people with more money and power.

I don't care whether you're a dem or rep or indi... it doesn't matter. We should just join together in freedom!!! freedom from government controlling us and lying to us everyday of our lives.

You can tell when someone is lying if you've heard the truth... however if all you've ever heard from the day you were born was misinformation then you have no reference point.  THIS is what has been happening to Americans for many many years! We don't even know it.  But things are changing now ever so SLOOOOOWLY.

This game was created by very smart and wealthy people bent on maintaining power.  If they keep us fighting eachother, we'll never wise up and realize how we are being taxed on every part of our life.

We can't waste our time fighting eachother over politics! its a game to distract us. We have to join together and spread good information and dethrone the power circle that has been controlling our country for over a hundred years!!!

Thank you!!!!

Another right winger.

Stupid is as Stupid does

What party runs the CA gov't, or the federal gov't? If right wing nazis (which I presume means republicans to you) are the ones preventing you from legally  toking, how is that it was republican George Schultz in the Regan admin who was the first high ranking member of either party to say publicly (early 1990's) that Americans needed to rethink the war on marijuana?

And how well have the "progressive" regressive types done? Last I checked, the leaders of the democratic party favor limiting criminal penalties, but NOT legalization - same as most republicans.

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Cartery explored legalization in 1975 during his Presidential run, so George Schultz was only about 15-20 years behind.

Look At The Polls, Look At The Votes

I appreciate and really respect the right-wingers who see the freedom and liberty argument. I only wish there were more.

Unfortunately, you see polls all the time that show mid-thirties support from Republicans, round sixty from Democrats. In legislative votes, it's always majority 'no' from Republicans, a (tepid at best) 'yes' from the Democrats.

If the right were behind reform, it would have happened by now.

Absent the culture war, I would think that they would be.

Absent the culture war, it's odd that they're not.

Right-wingers support this too

This isn't so much a left-right issue.  There are millions of conservatives that support Prop 19 across the nation.  Count me as one of them.  And no, just because I am conservative doesn't make me a fascist or a nazi.  Quite the opposite in fact, because I want the govt to have less influence in people's lives and for citizens to be responsible for themselves.  The Governator's decriminalization combined with passage of Prop 19 accomplishes that.

 Agreed, you're not alone.


Agreed, you're not alone.

I Second That

I am a conservative.  I want as little government intervention as possible.  I may not smoke pot, but I support its legalization and taxation, just like alcohol.

Let's keep our pot dollars in America.  We have had enough of our economy outsourced; we might as well reclaim the pot economy for America.

Left-Winger Says "Thanks."


LOL that's funny

Im really amazed by the "right" and left" and indi this blah blah. If you support and agree wit what a political party is doing then why follow another party and claim them. Thats what I dont get about people who follow this politics bullshit, you alkl claim to be down with 1 side but when your party does something you dont like you jump on the bandwagin.




As far a Prop 19 goes I support it, we can keep locking normal people up for substance use and abuse while the real criminals and theifs get away with murder, fraud, theft and more every day..

Like someone mentioned its not my decision to make if you smoke weed or not, nor should I be able to push my feelings and thoughts on others to have that consumer punished. Really get a life, and quit hating on people for there decision to do what they like.



Gee... your name is "Smarter

Gee... your name is "Smarter than you" , you support more taxes, and use the word "progress".    You are certainly quite the statist. "Progress" to you is destroying the constitution and turning this into a European style nation. Instead of working so hard to destroy the country why dont you take your liberal *#* straight to Europe where you belong.


I think the economics goes something like at the low end people purchase pot instead of x product placing burdens on lower income households high end folks never purchase in enough quantity for it to make significant as a cash crop yielding no net tax benefit aside from no prosecution and incarceration. The down side is far greater and the burden of such a bad choice is placed squarely on the low end consumer. Drug use should be stigmatized at all costs and avoided with the greatest effort. Drugs are a losing proposition anyway you look at them.

that could be said for any

that could be said for any recreational activity you dont personally approve of. In Colorado the government is already counting its tax cash, and its not an insignificant amount as you claim it would be in California.


I'm sorry I didn't realize this was a political commentary about right and left wing policies.  I'm about as right wing as they get and I fully support the legalization of marijuana.  So why don't you save the name calling for another time. I don't understand what the initial poster is talking about as the passage will reduce the overhead of the state in chasing nonsense and at the same time generate incredible amount of income. However the name calling is not necessary.


Nazi party stands for: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. They're socialist, which is LEFT wing!  Either take the time to learn German or history before you enter politics.

i am tired of listening to

i am tired of listening to people talk about how much money in taxes it will bring in just to try and fool people in to voting yes. the gov will waiste it to.


It looks like California has sealed it's doom. With the passage of that law and if Prop. 19 passes, then California citizens can expect to see their personal taxes skyrocket for medical care, more illegal aliens, a large increase in violence, more broken homes and plenty of heartbreak. Sure glad I don't live in that screwed up state. 

This will save the goverment money.

What are you talking about this law would make less inforcemnt necessary, which would be significantly cheaper for the state and pot users.

This won't save one stinking

This won't save one stinking dime.  Less prosecutions means nothing.  Does this mean all lawyers will be leaving the office early since they have no cases to prosecute/defend?  No.  Will the judge leave early because there are no cases in front of him?  No.  Will the cops take more time off since they won't be stopping you for possession?  No.  Will the administrators be leaving early because they don't have to fill out the paperwork?  No.  Show me where the savings are?

Less prosecutions means

Less prosecutions means nothing.  Does this mean all lawyers will be leaving the office early since they have no cases to prosecute/defend?

No. They will use there time to take on more meaningful cases, like real crimes and murders. Our law enforcement/judicial system is hugely backlogged because of all of the pointless stuff that they have to deal with (like marijuana cases)

Will the judge leave early because there are no cases in front of him?

No, see above.

Will the cops take more time off since they won't be stopping you for possession?

No, see above.

Will the administrators be leaving early because they don't have to fill out the paperwork?

No, see above.

Show me where the savings are?


Savings in decriminalization

The money saved will be the money not required to for additional prosecutors, judges, etc to handle real criminal cases that are backlogged. Administrators can do paperwork for violent criminals, crooked politicians, etc instead of pot cases. Somebody finally has the guts to stop this drug enforcement madness.

Freedom and Liberty

That's where the savings will be - in freedom and liberty.


Oh, and also in lives. Big savings there!

""This won't save one

""This won't save one stinking dime.  Less prosecutions means nothing.  Does this mean all lawyers will be leaving the office early since they have no cases to prosecute/defend?  No.  Will the judge leave early because there are no cases in front of him?  No.  Will the cops take more time off since they won't be stopping you for possession?  No.  Will the administrators be leaving early because they don't have to fill out the paperwork?  No.  Show me where the savings are?""


Does that mean you shouldn't even bother doing anything about the overspending then?

Your argument is completely invalid.


As with everything, unraveling a large problem takes one step at a time. The point is that now when users are caught, $100 goes straight to the state budget. So not only do you get one step (of many) closer to the goal of eliminating debts, but the state actually earns money on it now.

I'm from Canada and I understand that for goodness sake.

UH...? Stop and Think.

Extra expense? How does making something legal cost more money??? If you took away what tax revenue will be generated by legalization, the state will still save BILLIONS by NOT enforcing current laws alone. Sounds like yet another "Drugs are Bad, Um..K", uneducated statement. Only reason MJ is bad, is because someone told you as a kid that it is.


Hey genius......guess what.... pot is bad for you. Nothing good at all comes from legalizing this. You are an idiot.


Congrats on being the most ignorant person in the world. Ive smoked cannabis for about 6 years now and nothing bad has happened except me having to spend money on court fees for being arrested for 5 dollars worth of weed.  

Bad Grammor

Congratulations for congratulating someone for being ignorant. Also congratulations for getting caught with 5 dollars worth of weed and congratulations for making it six whole years...oh and congratulations making over $60,000 a year.

Congratulations for

Congratulations for congratulating someone for congratulating another for being ignorant.

profound statement

How eloquently put. Pot is bad for you? What is your basis for judging that? It must be all of the pot related deaths every year huh? I'm assuming that a moron such as yourself drinks alcohol, which killed 331 people in 2001 by overdose. How many people did pot kill? 0. You are the idiot/sheep that believes the ignorant Refer Madness rhetoric that has been spewing out of the mouths of idiots for generations. Idiot.

Good comes from legalizing...

You should learn not to believe everything your mother tells you. You believe pot is bad just like you believe God is real: your mother told you and you believed her. Shame on you.

Regulation + Continued Law Enforcement + Gov't Programs=($$$)

Regulation costs money. Law enforcement would have to restructure and prevent a potential increase in the illegal drug trade. Government programs such as those aimed at clean needle distributions, addiction centers, etc will need funding. The research supports that the need for these will increase. I'm all for Prop 19 getting passed, believe me. But it will not result in cash barrelling in allowing us to pay our teachers or fund this and that. The economics suggest that the revenue will just outweigh the costs. Vote yes, but know what you're gonna get.

Mj should be legal but if you

Mj should be legal but if you think that will help the government to save money, you are naive.  Government will always find a way to need more than the budget that they have.  They are especially not giving up cops or prisons.  These equal big money and control/power.

LMAO, really?

I've NEVER seen or heard of ANYONE using a needle to use Pot, LOL. It is the fact that you currently HAVE to get it from a "Criminal" that "makes it more likely that you will use harder drugs" like they try to spew at us. And I will have to say that the VAST majority of Hard Drug Dealers LOVE that they still get to sell all the Pot too. It means that they have the Opportunity to sell their Customers on Harder Drugs. If you take away their Customer Base, which Full Legalization will do very effectively, they DON'T HAVE THAT CHANCE ANY MORE! Actual Hard Drug Use will quite possibly DROP if given enough time.

Average Breakdown of $50/Eighth (Utah, Current, Ideal):



$15-Grower (Mexico)

$20-"Management" (Mexico)

And the Stats on Schwag aren't much better. Who do you think that "Management" is? Well, it could be Taxes, but only if we legalize it!

Let's put this money back in the States at least!

UH...? Stop and Think.

Extra expense? How does making something legal cost more money??? If you took away what tax revenue will be generated by legalization, the state will still save BILLIONS by NOT enforcing current laws alone. Sounds like yet another "Drugs are Bad, Um..K", uneducated statement. Only reason MJ is bad, is because someone told you as a kid that it is.

It aint called dope for nothing

I just wanted to point, out that you have, an unnecessary comma, in your last sentence.

Read the Sample Ballot

It's all right there in your sample ballot.  Potential to generate hundreds of millions in tax revenue, potential to reduce enforcement costs by tens of millions.  Learn to seek out facts and think critically.

The State could make millions

The State could make millions WHOREing out your daughter, sister, and mother and taxing it, doesn't make it the right thing to do to balance the budget. I'd rather cut programs and services and live lean for a while than pimp out your stoned daughter.


And if they were willing to whore themselves out?  It works perfectly well in Nevada, as well as numerous other nations in the world.  Just because you wouldn't like something doesn't mean no one would like it.  I've met girls in the cat-houses that love their jobs.  They get to set their own hours, charge their own prices, they can insist on protection, and they get to do a job they enjoy.  All this on top of knowing that the government will be there to protect them if something happens, not arrest them and make their life even worse.

Your capitalization of the word "whore" seems to be an attempt to generate a negative emotional response, the same response you most likely get to the concept of "whoring".  However, if my daughter, sister, or mother, being over 18 at the time, decides that moving to Nevada to work in the cat-houses (or anywhere else where it is legal) is what she wants, then I will support her whole-heartedly, just as I would if she wanted to be a veterinarian, musician, scientist, or any other profession.

So you're comparing some

So you're comparing some stoners to child prostitution? Please stop voting. lol moron

The couple of legal brothels

The couple of legal brothels in Nevada may be morally wanting, but they work. There are no rapes, almost no transmitted STDs, no pimp / whore violence, virtually none of the sh*t we encounter on the black market and in most every major city in America. The difference is legality and regulation.

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