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.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Can't figure it out?

Stop smoking/dealing then moron.  What will you want next, citizenship rights even though you killed 2 people?  Figure it out pot head, we don't want retards being made citizens. We have enough of those, backing people like you to be made citizens.  We don't need more.

Response to Can't figure it out?

Wow, I am sure glad to that our constitution allows even allows idiots and morons to have free speech. Maybe you should focus your ignorance on your priest or pastor molesting children than to have such a strong negitive feeling towards people you know nothing about, One can only hope when you are confronted with a life changing event someone will be sympathetic to your plight...

Smoking Pot = Murder?

Only an idiot would equate smoking pot with murder.

That kind of thinking is a huge part of the overall problem.

I don't want to live by your rules, religion or warped sense of values.

rAmen, sister!

rAmen! I hope one day to be touched by His Noodly Appendage!

(think *my* religion is retarded? it's just as retarded as yours. I think they only way to get this cancer of religion off the planet is to humiliate people into thinking rationally.)

"I think they only way to get

"I think they only way to get this cancer of religion off the planet is to humiliate people into thinking rationally"

 

Or,

maybe while we're out campaigning for people to respect our right to live our lives the way we please, we should also respect their right to do the same.

It doesn't bother me one bit if a fundamentalist christian wants to live their life by a strict moral code, just don't ask me to do the same.

about time

We so need this law here in Canada ! it's about time
 

Yes, we do.  This simple act

Yes, we do.  This simple act would make a world of difference here in Canada.  Baby steps, but still a step forward for sure.

OUT WITH HARPER!  STOP BILL S-10!  Rallies tomorrow.

We so need this law here in Canada

There you go, Gloria.

Canadian Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says his party will reintroduce legislation to "decriminalize" small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.

On September 27 in Montreal, the first night of his cross-country Open Mike tour, the Opposition Leader told an audience of over 200 people that the Libs would bring back Martin Cauchon's decrim bill that would eliminate criminal penalties for possession of under 15 grams of cannabis and replace them with fines.

Liberal Critic for Justice, Montreal MP Marlene Jennings, who joined Ignatieff at the event, added that she will push for Health Canada to streamline the process of granting medical marijuana permits.

:-)

How many Californians are now going to vote yes to Prop. 19 as a direct result of Arnie's opinion? I bet the Governator knows.

 

The state saves money, and Arnie is immune from the (inevitable) backlash when 19 is passed.

 

I reckon the timing of this bill was intentional.

I was wrong and I'm so glad

I was wrong in my prediction that the Governor would sign. Did I misjudge to temper my disappointment in case he did not? Wow. This is a great day in California and America. Congratulations and thanks to NORML and all the other organizations and activists working for marijuana reform.

Yeah buddy!

The Governator has spoken - are u listening Mr. Prez?

Good job Arnie

I guess he didn't have much choice. If he vetoed it, it would have infuriated a lot of people and made even more people go to the polls to vote yes on 19.

Trying to prevent Prop19 turn out

And most of them would be young Democrats, and then the upcoming rout of Meg-alomaniac and Steve-Jobs impersonator, Fiorina, would be by even larger margins. This is a backburn to prevent the Prop 19 brush fire. Kinda like the Republicans putting an prayer-in-school prop or an anti-woman prop on the ballot when they need a reactionary/TeaParty turnout.

Cal,You do realize by now

Cal,

You do realize by now that there are more Republican politicians that oppose the drug war than there are Democrat politicians?  The democratic party has abandoned its classic liberal ideology and moved to all-out authoritarian statism. 

The repubs aren't much better, but there is definitely a libertarian streak in the Tea Party.

:D

Fantastic!

Infractions are cirmes, too.

"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."

So now he just took away the right to counsel and jury trial on this.

Frankly, he should be lambasted for denying people their constitutional rights!

While I applaud the decriminalization, it has laid bare that bigger problem that MUST be addressed!

I don't know the details, but

I don't know the details, but I'm sure all charges could be contested just like any traffic ticket can be contested. The main point is every offender won't be required to appear in court. Sounds great to me and I don't even use the stuff.
 

If I had to guess I'd say he

If I had to guess I'd say he did this to weaken support for prop 19.

 

This negates 2 of the bigger selling points of prop 19.

 

One of the biggest selling points is that it would stop the senseless arrests, and criminal records that were following people around for the rest of their lives for being caught with small amounts of marijuana.

The other big selling point negated by the signing of this bill is the wasting of money, and police resources.

 

As close as the vote is going to be on Prop 19 this bill could actually be detrimental to it.

Prop 19 == no black market

You are missing THE BIGGEST selling point of prop 19 which is that it would pull the rug out from under the black market. Decriminalizing possession doesn't do that. Dealers and growers and mules are still going to risk jail and still charge the same amount and make the same profits. With prop 19, you can grow your own, which yes a lot of people will do because it's easy, it's a weed after all. Also you can just go down to the corner store and buy it. This bill will do nothing to reduce the size of the black market and the associated violence and cost to society.

Well...

Unfortunately we don't know quite yet how this bill will affect the organization of drug rings if it will at all. I would imagine, since I don't believe they have detailed enough statistics for me to check; that most violence regarding drugs would stem more from real narcotics, heroin especially.)  When's the last you heard a new story about a pot grow that errupted in violence? I usually see a couple of 100+ pot bust stories a month at some point and those growers always come peacefully.
And sure weed is making money for gangs who sell but you can bet their guys on the corner selling marijuana got rocks in their pockets too. Most of the USA's weed comes from good ol' USA. Trafficers aren't going to risk bringing weed when they can bring a few small bricks of heroin that scores them 10s of thousands more then a trunk-load of smelly grass would.
Also take into consideration that the blackmarket for marijuana has a big percentage of non-gang affiliated individuals, i'm sure most people have known some guy or two or more that have sold some pot to supplement themselves alongside a job. With this new bill ounces(as in one at a time) can be moved much quicker and with no fear of getting caught and losing everything by being labeled a criminal and a drug user/dealer. It's not a lot to move at a time but I don't see how it won't slowly increase the saturation. Now i'm all for Prop 19, but the poll results are so close and Arnold is clever as hell with this move. As others have said a lot of people are satisfied with the tens of thousands of people getting tickets instead of jail and I see the precentage dropping before the vote for prop 19. Either way I see it as win/win for the green fans and hopefully this greased the cogs of the legislative branch a little. I bet we'll see many movements for legalization in the next year. The fire is lit.
I wonder where federal law comes into play in this.

 

I think I may have lost my original point somewhere in that mess of speculative opinion. But uh, I think it gets my point across.

Well...

Unfortunately we don't know quite yet how this bill will affect the organization of drug rings if it will at all. I would imagine, since I don't believe they have detailed enough statistics for me to check; that most violence regarding drugs would stem more from real narcotics, heroin especially.)  When's the last you heard a new story about a pot grow that erupted in violence? I usually see a couple of 100+ pot bust stories a month at some point and those growers always come peacefully.
And sure weed is making money for gangs who sell but you can bet their guys on the corner selling marijuana got rocks in their pockets too. Most of the USA's weed comes from good ol' USA. Trafficers aren't going to risk bringing weed when they can bring a few small bricks of heroin that scores them 10s of thousands more then a trunk-load of smelly grass would.
Also take into consideration that the blackmarket for marijuana has a big percentage of non-gang affiliated individuals, i'm sure most people have known some guy or two or more that have sold some pot to supplement themselves alongside a job. With this new bill ounces(as in one at a time) can be moved much quicker and with no fear of getting caught and losing everything by being labeled a criminal and a drug user/dealer. It's not a lot to move at a time but I don't see how it won't slowly increase the saturation.

Anywho, Arnold is showing his prowess as a knowledgeable and generally aware governor which cali residents should be damned proud of, with the recent poll about Prop 19 that came up with "legalize it"a few points ahead this senate bill has effectively cut out Prop 19's feet. As others have said a lot of people are satisfied with the tens of thousands of people getting tickets instead of jail and I see the percentage dropping before the vote for prop 19. Either way I see it as win/win for our freedom and hopefully this greased the cogs of the legislative branch a little. I bet we'll see many major movements for legalization in the next year.
The fire is lit.
Appreciate the history that you Californians are driving the helm of.

For the love of god don't crash it. Haha

 

 

It seems fishy to me...

I think Arnold is trying to keep prop 19 from passing by doing this. Now, I'm not saying its not a step in the right direction, because this is definitely better than before, but now he's basically turned prop 19 into a bill that makes it legal to grow and sell weed and does little else, because now having it is hardly a crime. People are now probably more willing to think that prop 19 is "too much, too soon". Its a compromise, but its a compromise on their terms, and not the people's wishes.

I'd say its highly likely Washington pressured him into doing it, as they don't want to risk taking prop 19 to the Supreme Court and losing.

That's what I'm saying. The

That's what I'm saying. The timing of this is this passing is a little too convenient.

This should have been done a long time ago.

Calif Marijuana decrim bill SB1449

Maybe he is doing this to weaken support for Prop 19, but Prop 19 is NOT perfect, either.  Some are concerned that it will ensure that only Monsanto and a few big corporations can afford to comply with the costs of regulation to legally sell, thus continuing the illegal market revenue instead of putting it out in public.  I don't want Monsanto invovled with pot, as they are cutthroat genetic modifiers that have only harmed agriculture and cost farmers on a grand scale.  Even if Monsanto's GM seeds blow over to another farmer's organic crop, they are required to pay Monsanto for the crop, or charged a criminal offense for 'theft'.  That scares me having them involved in such a healing plant as MJ.

And wouldn't this passage of SB1449 actually make Prop 19 obsolete?  Then, in 2012 a new ballot measure that legalizes usage, sales and cultivation more clearly without impacting patients could be voted on.  But for the interim, an ounce is basically what  Prop 19 allowed for anyway.  The rest is under contention by alot of people and even both sides admit that it could be crafted and worded more specifically to protect people in a better way.

I am quite pleased by this measure, however.  Quite pleased!  Good for you, Arnold!

God have you even READ prop

God have you even READ prop 19? This bill certainly does NOT make Prop 19 obsolete, quite the opposite in fact.

If Prop 19 Fails, Prop 215 Continues and this BIll will Help

 

<h1>and Just say NO to Meg Whitman !!!</h1>

 

She has big business in her back pocket to thwart Pot use. She wants you to get drunk, not high! The nerve of HER!

 

say NO to Meg Whitman !

Decriminalization won't solve the major issue

I can't say what was in the terminator's head when he signed the Decriminalization Bill but while it's a tremendous move in the right direction, Decriminalization does nothing to control drug cartel involvement in the drug trade.  Prop 19 takes regulation, distributing, marketing, etc from the hands of the criminals and gives it to legitimate business.

Only passage of Prop 19 can crush the cartels and the runaway prohibition violence which has brought this country to it's knees.

Vote YES on Prop 19...take a huge bite out of crime...the world is watching...

maybe this will help lower

maybe this will help lower the prices!

until they tax the hell out of it .........

Or ...

You can just stop doing drugs. You know, the stuff that makes you do stupid things? Like run over people while stoned. Like not show up for work. Like setting fire to your house. Research that was carried out 2 years ago but blocked by the academics has proven that use of marijuana does contribute to psychosis and delusions later in life. Delayed brain damage. But then you have to be brain damaged to want to not be able to think straight anyway.  

PCR was discovered on LSD.

Run over people while stoned? Where did you pull that out of?

Not show up for work? Your correlations are vague and degrade your already weak argument.

Think about it....

"Blocked by the academics.." LOL, seriously? 1st of all I really doubt that all of the scientist in the world have a conspiracy against this made-up report. 2nd is was probably blocked due to it being: non-existant, not a scientific experiment or anti-pot groups love to claim certain "reports" but don't provide links.....you get an F on your persuasive essay

I disagree

Get out of the dark ages my friend.  The reefer madness propaganda has long been squashed.

Sober people run over and kill all the time.  Oh, but those are just mistakes right?

As a MJ smoker for 20 years I have never driven intoxicated or injured anyone.  2 speeding tickets are the only thing you will find on my life long driving record.  Never burned a house down, never got "stoned" around a child, never exposed a child to it, never have broken the law and pay my taxes and work 45+ hours a week doing Information Technology.  All those same things the "holier than thou" folks who still cling to old ideals and propaganda are doing.

This makes so much fiscal sense, while fighting the drug war on Marijuana makes no sense.

Are you listening Washington State??  Stop crying you have no choice but to raise taxes and constantly crying about your budget deficits when a solution like legalizing and taxing Marijuana can go a long way to a solution.  Instead that money goes to the back pockets of drug dealers on the corner and the cartels.

Little Johnny is going to smoke a joint whether you legalize it or not.  So the false premise of "protect the children" is flimsy at best. 

One just needs to look at alcohol to see the hypocrisy.

I am a law abiding citizen in every way but I smoke Marijuana for insomnia and chronic pain, it is a GOD SEND.  Yet I am characterized as a "loser" and have to live in fear of losing my job or the social implications because of the false stigma MJ has. 

Props Arnold but we have a ways to go.  Vote YES on Prop 19 and Washington State voters get off your butt's and support a similar measure here. 

Thanks for reading.

Yes, you are

You break the law where you feel it suits your lifestyle. You are a loser. A selfish, arrogant, loser.

I guess you should post links

I guess you should post links to back up your claims regarding these studies you refer to. You are obviously thinking of alcohol when you refer to people running over one another. Really, try to educate yourself before making these ridiculous comments.

The human race has, from the

The human race has, from the beginning of time, has wanted to "fiddle with their minds." Every culture in the world has their "mind enhancers."

Out of the hands of

Out of the hands of criminals?  Those  businesses you are thinking of are the true criminals. NO on prop 19  Marijuana should only be used for good. Dont let corporations like Monsanto control anything. Marijuana should be for the people. Food should be for the people. Not for money. Thats what has brought this country to its knees, greed for money.

The War on Drugs... It's OvEr!

Thank you Governor! What an exciting time for Drug Policy Reform and creative legislation. This bill is the nail that will build our decriminalization effort's. Forth-coming will be the reconciliation of those offenders serving time, paying fines, or are engaged in prosecution and the process of fighting for their personal property. Unfortunate for prop 19 believers and their corporate, institutionalized, national empirical interest's however... film at 11.

ACTUALLY

there is no law that stops you taking and posesing drugs in reality... there is however the misuse of drugs act and acts and statues are in fact not law.... they can only be applied by force of law when give the consent of the governed..... meaning...... you being the governed have to give a cop permission to have power over you to govern you on the said act .....  so its all shit anyways...... keep blazing the big spliffs... get high and be happy... you was never doing anything wrong in the first place anyways .... so yeh you can be fined a 100 dolla infraction... if you agree to it in the first place

Hippie

Seriously dude, you need to cut Waaaay back on the pot...you can't possibly have too many brain cells left...

The Cleansing of MI

Thanks gov..MI druggies will be leaving in droves:)

You mean my friends who smoke

You mean my friends who smoke pot every day and make 6 figure salaries? I'd rather they stay and simpletons like you leave.

ACTUALLY

The faster California falls into the ocean,the better the US will be. The state worries about pot and is bankrupt.

Legalizing and regulating

Legalizing and regulating cannabis will generate large revenues in business and taxes. This money used to go into organized crime. The market for crime will shrink which means less money will be needed to fund courts, jails, and police. This is just what all of the world needs, not just California. 

legalizing pot..... crazy'r than electing a socialist president!

You can't be serious, how did we arrive at this insanity in the first place? ? ? we actually have people arguing that legalizing a drug that will destroy the brain cells of each and every user and cause all types of health problems and leave a gigantic $ financial hole in the health care system for the rest of us to have to fill with our hard earned money! I am sick and tired of the radical left dictating to the hard working, honest, conservative, morally minded, anti drug, anti entitlement, anti criminal, God fearing,  America loving people that I can't take it! I hope we stomp them into the ground in November, and vote this radical, socialist, marxist president right out of this country.....I can't wait till we find out about his lies concerning his birth certificate. I can't wait till the truth concerning his eligibility for the presidency is uncovered. I can't wait till all his illegal activities are revealed about him and his cronies and are brought out into the light so the world can see the real Barry Sotoero. His actions will speak louder than his words......................Obama = your brain on drugs!

Ok, I'm going to take this

Ok, I'm going to take this slow, as your mental stability seems a bit sensitive.

"we actually have people arguing that legalizing a drug that will destroy the brain cells of each and every user"

If you have evidence (a scientific study from a reputable source) that shows marijuana kills braincells, please provide it.  Otherwise I'm going to say you're making this up (as I seem to remember studies proving this rumor false).

"and cause all types of health problems"

Actually studies have shown that marijuana has many health benefits.  Go ahead and google things like THC + Cancer, and THC + anxiety, etc. and see what you'd find.  You'll be surprised to see that the only proven negative effects of THC on the body come when it is smoked, and only then when it is rolled in tobacco.  

"leave a gigantic $ financial hole in the health care system for the rest of us to have to fill with our hard earned money!"

Well this is a somewhat different issue, however as I just said the use of marijuana will not provide many if any negative health benefits, and should take some strain off our healthcare system by reducing the reliance on pharmaceuticals to treat things like anxiety and depression (which is why Big Pharma is against legalization).  As far as not paying for other people's healthcare with our hard earned money, I'm right beside you.

"radical left dictating to the hard working, honest, conservative, morally minded, anti drug, anti entitlement, anti criminal, God fearing,  America loving people that I can't take it!"

Well, I support ending the drug war, and I am far from radical left.  I like to think of myself as hardworking (I've been employed full time since leaving college 3 years ago) and honest.  I'm conservative on economic issues (I believe in a free market), and I am moral in the sense that I will not act in a way that infringes on the rights of another human being (stealing, murder, assault).  I am anti-criminal when the crime is not victimless, I am anti-entitlement, America loving AND God fearing.  

While I am not an Obama supporter, the rest of your diatribe falls quickly into insanity, and thus are undeserving of comment.

Catholic Cowboy: Get help!

Catholic Cowboy: Get help! Read a book other than the bible. Our president is one of the best so far. Worry more about what youre eating than smoking. The reason why our county is unhealthy  is because of processed foods not pot. You should be angry at the corporations who are controlling the government, and the food indrustry. And since when has a republican been honest?

CALIFORNIA is run by a bunch of retards

I hate people from California your state sucks

Mostly I would agree, but....

In this case, it is rather large step towards a rational way of dealing with an intoxicant.  There has been a "War on Drugs" since 1913, and criminalizing drug use has had no good effects, only bad ones.

We Californians hereby revoke

We Californians hereby revoke the technology we invented from your computer.   Thus, you are banned from the Internet.

More proof of worthless california

If “the govanator” had done his job and forced the ILLEGAL ALIENS out of the state then he could have afforded to enforce the laws against drug use. Now he has just given any decent company another reason to move out of California and take the jobs and taxes with them. California is now a worthless place with no valid reason to live there. Nothing there but druggies, whores, sodomites, illegal aliens, other assorted criminals and bums.

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