The Governator Arnold Shwarzenegger has just signed bill SB 1449 which effectively treats marijuana possesion no longer as a criminal offense. Currently as it stands you are allowed to posses up to 28.5 grams and receive nothing more than a 100$ fine. It’s a traffic ticket.
Now, many are thinking why would Shwarzenegger, who recently came out against prop 19 would now sign a bill which effectively decriminalizes marijuana. it simple. They don’t want prop 19 to pass and are doing everything in their power to stop it. Both the democrats and the Republicans have come out against the bill, and it hasn’t got any support from any major political figure in California. This is because they are worried about the repercussions of what will happen legally to the state if prop 19 is passed. Prop 19 would completely legalize the sale, production of marijuana, and create a tax which would bring the state billions of dollars. The last part is the tough one. You see, since marijuana is still illegal at a federal level, this would complicate the ability of the state to tax it. If Prop 19 passes it will create many legal problems for the state, and it will most likely go all the way to the supreme court. Unfortunately the Supreme Court has never ruled in favor of state’s rights, so they will nullify the will of the voters. Californian politicians are very afraid of democracy in action. They don’t want the people to have their say. So what do the politicians do? They give us a carrot on a stick, and say, is this good enough? I say fuck that! I want to grow the carrots myself! Go Prop 19!
Here’s the letter from Shwarzenegger explaining why he signed 1449 into law.
To the Members of the California State Senate:
I am signing Senate Bill 1449.
This bill changes the crime of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor punishable only by a $100 fine to an infraction punishable by a $100 fine. Under existing law, jail time cannot be imposed, probation cannot be ordered, nor can the base fine exceed $100 for someone convicted of this crime.
I am opposed to decriminalizing the possession and recreational use of marijuana and oppose Proposition 19, which is on the November ballot. Unfortunately, Proposition 19 is a deeply flawed measure that, if passed, will adversely impact California’s businesses without bringing in the tax revenues to the state promised by its proponents. Notwithstanding my opposition to Proposition 19, however, I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name. 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. As noted by the Judicial Council in its support of this measure, the appointment of counsel and the availability of a jury trial should be reserved for defendants who are facing loss of life, liberty, or property greater than $100.
For these reasons, I am signing this bill.
And here’s the text of the actual bill.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
SB 1449, as amended, Leno. Marijuana: possession.
Existing law provides that, except as authorized by law, every
person who possesses not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other
than concentrated cannabis, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be
punished by a fine of not more than $100. This same penalty is
imposed for the crime of possessing not more than 28.5 grams of
marijuana while driving on a highway or on lands, as specified.
Existing law provides for this offense with
respect to these offenses that under specified conditions (1)
the court shall divert and refer the defendant for education,
treatment, or rehabilitation, as specified, and (2) an arrested
person who gives satisfactory evidence of identity and a written
promise to appear in court shall not be subjected to booking.
This bill would instead provide that ,
except as authorized by law, every person who possesses not more
than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis,
any person who commits any of the above offenses
is instead guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine
of not more than $250 $100. This bill would
eliminate the above- described prov isions
relating to booking and to diversion and referral for education,
treatment, or rehabilitation . By changing the
penalties for an existing crime, this bill would impose a
state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.