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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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we desperately need it as the FIRST REAL STEP to ending drug the useless drug war! 

only an idiot would think it was obsolete now--you've fallen right into the trap that they hoped you would. you have to have more than an ounce at some point to get people less than that. they can still bust the farms where it grows. this law still allows Mexican drug cartels to control marijuana sales. 


if you don't like prop 19, because it makes it a felony to smoke around a minor, then you really are an idiot.

One thing we are all passing

One thing we are all passing up is if in fact it becomes legal they cant test for it and i know for myself that's a blessing......

RE: No need for Prop 19 now.

Your naivete is hurting millions of suffering cancer & serious sick people!!!!!!!!!!

HOW DARE YOU. Take your nonsense & move east.

It helped me with my cancer tremendously.

Stoners are smarter than you apparently!!!!


  To Mr. George

  To Mr. George Washington,

  Seems to me that you've had a bad experience in your life that has made you hate the herb that comes out of the ground that so may of people like myself like to smoke. It also seems that you need to calm down and smoke a fatty yourself =) Only someone relying on pure air would call someone a "dumb stoner" Where do you get off on calling my fellow Americans dumb? Not to mention that you automatically think that your smarter than half the population of America when you say that.  If Prop 19 would've passed, this country of "ours" would not be in the position that we are in right now. Marijuana is a cash crop! It will never go away. And people will never stop smoking it. In 1919 through 1933.... Do you know of this era??? Mr. I call the stoners dumb =) This was the era of the prohibition, When Wilson passed the act he didn't know what he was doing, he thought that he could sober up America by putting his name on a piece of paper. When really all he did was make certain people wealthier than he could ever be in his life as president. By the end of the prohibition they realized that they were wasting their money and time trying to uphold this act of law. Marijuana has been illegal since about 1913 I believe and our country wastes more money on trying to uphold this law than they should. They could use that money for so much more! Our country needs the money, and by having it illegal, we are making other countries money by having to import brick weed. Especially when the Christmas Buds in some parts of the country run out. Anyhow there some information from one of your countries "Dumb Stoners".



                                                              St. Bartholomew


                        PS, You need to be nice to people!!!         =)


How can a state tax something that is illegal to have or sell at the federal level?

Where did the federal

Where did the federal government get the power to impose marijuana prohibition, anyway?  It took a constitutional ammendment to ban alcohol, and I'm pretty sure one was never passed for cannabis.  California has the right to nullify unconstitutional federal laws within its borders.


Because the Constitution says so.

The product is being grown and sold locally, therefore the Federal Government has no say thanks to the 10th Amendment.

Of course Franklin Rosevelt had his puppet Supreme Court rule that any thing that COULD effect Interstate Commerce could be controlled at the Federal Level.

So a court decided that the 10th Amendment doesn't count when it comes to farming.


This is what Democrats give us. Tyranny.

The better question...

The better question to ask is this: How does the federal government have the right to enact any drug laws at all? When alcohol was prohibited, it required a constitutional amendment.

According to tax law,

According to tax law, earnings from illegal enterprises are subject to income tax. At the federal level, drug dealers are required to pay taxes. The law allows them to deduct their cost of goods sold, but nothing else.

I agree one hundred percent!

We celebrate and move forward full-speed! This Struggle will be won step-by-step, and not all at once. Those "all or none" approaches to this issue do not work. We take what we can along the way, and then move towards complete Cannabis Freedom. Can you imagine what it would have been if we had listened to those fools from "stoners against Prop. 19"? Then the Campaign would have been way behind and Gov. Arnold would have felt no incentive to sign the "decriminalization" Bill, and as a result, the California Cannabis Community would have been left with nothing. Thanks God this has not happened!

prop 19

We don't need another law!!! Leave it alone. Prop. 15 and SB420 are enough!  Cannabis is medical. Stop the trend to tax our medicine. Prop. 19 puts our children in the lime light. If my sixteen year old has cancer and a recommendation from his/her doctor and is caught with pot, after a chemo therapy, he or she can be arrested and although they may win in court by going back to prove Prop 15... more cost to the tax payer and untold heartache to the cancer victim and his or her family.  By giving local government more power in this matter, there will be one court battle after another as each County has different views, some looking forward and some STUCK in the past. There is so much about cannabis that has lived in the dark, it is time to do more research and bring in the light of facts.  Read  Prop 19 and learn who is pushing this, the tobacco industries who are buying up CA land at an alarming rate to grow commercially.  SAY NO TO BIG BUSINESS AND TAXES, VOTE NO ON PROP 19.

borden's picture

completely mistaken

See for information on why jana is completely mistaken.

A vote against Prop 19 is a prohibitionist vote.

Pot Legalization

What good comes from legalizing pot?? Absolutly nothing. This proposition is ridiculous. It is a gateway drug for kids and does nothing but burn people out. I am 48 years old and I have seen the results of people who began smoking pot as kids and where those people have ended up. You are insane.

Pot Legalization is good.

 I am 48 years old and I have seen the results of people who began smoking pot as kids and where those people have ended up.

Those people would have been losers anyways.  Use some common sense - stop playing the victim.

Even if your comments are

Even if your comments are true, I've seen people use pot without it affecting their academics or intelligence. I can't say the same thing for hard core drugs. I also remember high school, when several students got drunk and pretty much acted terribly. Not so with the pot heads.


As for gateway drugs for children, that would be drinking cough syrup and smoking real cigarettes, not to mention alcohol.


I am no stoner but I can't see a decent argument for keeping it illegal, sorry.


Parents need to be aware of what their children are doing.

Prop 19 will decimate the

Prop 19 will decimate the current pot growers - and open the door to Monsanto, Cargil and the rest of the genetically modified multinational agritech ghouls. Frankenweed... just what you need, eh?


I for one welcome the Frankenweed.

NO NO NO on 19..The states

NO NO NO on 19..The states have had their chance to tax and regulate and they would never do it, so now you just need to legalize it totally and let people grow, grow, grow. Check out the old Alaskan law, you could possess almost as much as you wanted but you could not sell it...that is the best way to legalize

Really??? come on governor.....give me a break...


Call it pot, grass, weed, or any one of nearly 200 other names, marijuana is, by far, the world’s most commonly used illicit drug—and far more dangerous than most users realize. So, there is just cause for alarm when adolescent marijuana us...e increases, as it did in the mid-1990’s, and the age at which youngsters first experiment with pot starts to drops.

Marijuana has been around for a long while. Its source, the hemp plant (cannabis sativa), was being cultivated for psychoactive properties more than 2,000 years ago. Although cannabis contains at least 400 different chemicals, its main mind-altering ingredient is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol).The amount of THC in marijuana determines the drug’s strength, and THC levels are affected by a great many factors, including plant type, weather, soil, and time of harvest. Sophisticated cannabis cultivation of today produces high levels of THC and marijuana that is far more potent than pot of the past. THC content of marijuana, which averaged less than 1 percent in 1974, rose to an average 4 percent by 1994.

For the highly popular form of marijuana called Sinsemilla (from the Spanish "without seeds"), made from just the buds and flowering tops of female plants, THC content averages 7.5 percent and ranges as high as 24 percent. As for hashish, a resin made from flowers of the female plant, THC levels may be five to ten times higher than crude marijuana’s. 


Amen.. Bout time Arnie grew a pair. well done even if just for political gain and not looking like a complete jerk and follower of the feds.

Just a happy man now.

One last remark.. This has got to be the final push that prop 19 needs or may not have needed to pass. The world is about to change and for the better. I am so happy right now and not sure if I will be able to sleep. I am in Arizona and things will change here too.

Nope, sorry. I am in AZ also

Nope, sorry. I am in AZ also and any change that we see here is unfortunately going to be fascist Joe Arpio supported and tea party supported changes.

We shall see :)

We shall see :)




If the Tea Party is really about getting back to the Constitution, then they should be in support of not making retarded laws that are repressive and harsh. As for Sheriff Joe, his actions have never shown any kind of fascism unless you are accounting for him being a Police Officer which the creation of a police force is based on fascism. However, their job is to enforce the laws currently on the books. If you think a law is retarded (in my opinion retarded means the laws favors one side or another to the detriment of the other since laws should favor no one), then work to get it changed and he will have to enforce what laws are on the books. Until you can point out a fact (in my opinion the word fact is used to reflect information ground in real and tangible evidence and not of fictitious manner) about Joe beign a true Fascist, then please do not slander people, it makes you look stupid.

your right

 Your right, I'm a staunch libertarian and i also think the tea party is a good cause. True concervatives ( not the social douches) should support this if they truly support small gov and the constitution. so to others on this board don't group all Tea Party members or Concervatives into one group. if you look around you will find plenty of people like me!

as a libertarian minded tea party supporter

I am an ardent tea party supporter and I think Brewer and Arpaio should look into similar changes for Arizona. I dont believe that the government owns your body and can tell you what to do with it.


please dont mistake tea party ideology with the old school fundamentalist scare mongers

poor analysis

As usual, "progressives" don't realize their big central government "leaders" have a lot invested in maintaining the drug war.  There is a strong libertarian element within the so-called tea party movement which opposes the drug war and most drug laws.  Please refer to Ron Paul's positions on the drug war and anti-marijuana statutes.  The libertarian movement would have ended the drug war LONG ago.


You are a fool for insulting Tea Party members. Many of us are libertarians and believe each individual is responsible for his own behavior. I am a nurse. I would not do drugs because it may affect my critical thinking and I would also be fired. I do not believe that it is the business of the government. You shoot yourself in the foot when you insult others.


Too much debate about a simple matter... LEGALIZE IT... Oh, and smoke weed every day :)


Wow. A duly elected law enforcement official trying his best to enforce laws that 70% of people in your state support, a fascist? Really. And Tea Party(taxed enough already) doesn't represent you? That's probably because in Arizona, you represent the liberal tax and spend Marxist,socialist, and communist leftist, statist, minority regime.

Name calling is all you jerks have left. Oh, and, you forgot racist also.

Throw the bums out ! See you in November, sucker.

Hey Hypocrite

LOOK whose name calling now you HiP OCRITES yes i spelled it wrong on purpose to give u tunnel vision people

or should i say SELF RIGHTEOUS SUB HUMANS something to ridicule!! you HATERS speak from your Heart

so therefore u harbor HATE within! THERES NO LOVE, LOVE brings understanding PITY u lack BOTH!!

but hey u probably belive in war for oil!!  Mr patriot WAKE UP & smell the WEEDS



Joe for President!  He is a

Joe for President!  He is a great American!


Sorry, Joe McCarthy has passed away.

This is a huge break through in law.

Now Washington can follow, we need the money for are state, and its well over due.

California is really doing something smart and bold, the gate is now open.

Down with the lies that marijuana is so bad, the truth is out.

Marijuana is a healing plant that has more use than we know,

its incredibly ridiculous that its illegal to posses use or grow marijuana.

Free the earths healing plants for the people that it has all ways been intended

for! Let the earth heal us so we can care for the earth as long as the life still thrives.


Plants were meant for healing, not for pain!  Hallelujah!!!!

LOL ...ok go roll around in

LOL ...ok go roll around in poison ivy ... let me know how that works out for ya.  Grass should be legal because it's dumb that it's not ... not because of some hippie BS that it will solve the world's problems.

derp derp

Plants have been studied for thousands of years and there are thousands of plants that have been cataloged and categorized for all the remedies they provide.

So not poison ivy, oak, or sumac, but did you know even aspirin is nothing more than a synthetic version of a substance that grows in a certain type of tree's bark?

"Willow: The Aspirin Tree

Aspirin may be the best known pharmaceutical in the world, but its basic ingredient has been known in Europe and North America as a natural remedy for centuries."

You know, you have a near-infinite amount of information at your fingertips and you could have spent just a few minutes investigating, but instead you decided to run your mouth like some grade school punk.

So why don't *you* go roll around in some poison ivy and then tell us about it?

Oh I know all the claims by

Oh I know all the claims by the pot hippies about how it's a miracle drug ... it's the general "plants are for healing" bit up top that I find silly ... plenty of plants are harmful and/or down right deadly ... to say generically that pot is not dangerous because it's a plant is simplistic to the point of absurdity.  Relax dude - I'm on your side here ... go roll a joint and calm down.

Roll Around

Sure I will go roll around in poison ivy Ive been around it on the farm for years,I have never gotten a case of poison ivy.And neither has my sister.


I agree wholeheartedly!  Also in Washington, I thought the same ~ We can be next!  Watch the dominoes fall!

Leave it to a stoner to

Leave it to a stoner to have 14 gramatical/punctuation errors in 7 lines.  Go get an education.

You spelled grammatical

You spelled grammatical incorrectly

Yay! A grammar nazi!  Because



A grammar nazi!  Because pointing out the bad grammar in an argument is the best way to refute the argument!

We got the education, but

We got the education, but when we are high we just forget sometimes:)

Leave it to a stoner to have

Leave it to a stoner to have 14 gramatical/punctuation errors in 7 lines.

It's unfortunate the weed

It's unfortunate the weed will not cure your improper use of "are" instead of "our" and "its" instead of "it's."  Stop smoking dope and learn to write.

irony defined

complete with a misspelling of the word "grammatical"     AHAHAHA

That's not the weed causing

That's not the weed causing bad grammar when typing, that is the education system in this country.. another failed federal department that should die and be left to the states

One final thing on the wish list


It's a wonderful time to be a Californian.

Today Decriminalization. Tomorrow Legalization. But there is one final thing on my wish list. . .

Total amnesty for the half a million people with simple possession charges on their record. It should never have been a crime to begin with.

And last but not least, thank you Governor Schwartzenegger. With the signing of one senate bill, you've gone a long way towards redeeming yourself -- in my eyes, anyway :-D   


Talk about a waste of money and resources on both sides:

I was denied my US citizenship because i had more than one (i had 2) bud possession charges in less than 5 years.

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