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California makes marijuana possession just an infraction 2010-Oct-02 at 00:31 PST

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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I love it when the news conspires with a topic I’ve been talking about.

From California Reduces Its Penalty for Marijuana, by Jesse McKinley, 1-Oct-2010:

A month before California voters decide the fate of a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that essentially puts those caught possessing small amounts of the drug on the same level as those caught speeding on the freeway.

“The only difference is that because it is a misdemeanor, a criminal defendant is entitled to a jury trial,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said in a statement that accompanied his signature. “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.”

It’s not quite decriminalization, but it’s a step in the right direction, and it’s a model that other states can adopt on their way to eventual decriminalization, and eventually legalization.

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