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California: Marijuana Infraction Measure Now State Law

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 3, 2011

    It’s official. The possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for non-medical purposes is no longer a criminal offense in the state of California.

    As of January 1, 2011, Senate Bill 1449 is law. Signed by outgoing California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in October, SB 1449 amends the California Health and Safety Code so that the adult possession of up to 28.5 grams of marijuana is reclassified from a criminal misdemeanor to an infraction, punishable by no more than a $100 fine — no court appearance, no court costs, and no criminal record. The Governor’s decision to sign the bill was no doubt influenced by the 2,500+ NORML supporters who contacted Schwarzenegger’s office in the final days of the 2010 legislative session and urged his support for the law change.

    The enactment of the law will spare tens of thousands of Californians from criminal prosecution, and will save the state tens of millions in court costs. California’s new law is similar to existing laws in Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and New York where private, non-medical possession of marijuana is treated as a civil, non-criminal offense.

    You can read more about California’s newly enacted law here.

    63 Responses to “California: Marijuana Infraction Measure Now State Law”

    1. sirteachyou says:

      In addition to complete legalization of cannabis we need amnesty for all those previously convicted of pot offenses. This would free up many talented people to become anything they could be without the Sarlet Letter of a drug conviction holding them back.

    2. [...] the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil infraction became law on [...]

    3. Wade says:

      Dear Mr. C # 46
      I must disagree. There may be some people who defraud the system in California and get medical cannabis that way but if one is honest the compassionate use act says that one must be sick to get medical cannabis. End of story. I am also quiten insulted that you say “its all about the money” It is not. I for one am a sick person — my condition is hypertension — and while I do support legalization for medical, religious and nonmedical uses it is for me about the medicine and my Pagan — not Christian — religious practices. No, it is not about the money for me. The unfortunate thing is that I live in New York where there is no medical cannabis law. If I had the chace to live in California my medical needs could be addressed. I am not faking my illness nor is my religion just a cover to get high — I am what Roger Christie would call “sincere”. The big problem for me is that people who have made medical cannabis laws in some states do not include my condition as a qualifying condition. California is one of the few places in which I can get my medicine. The war on drugs has been a success not a failure. Those who say it is “easy” to get cannabis in New York do not know what they are talking about. I have no way of getting my medicine. If in the future I should be lucky enough to move to Califoria I will be able to get my medicine legally for the medical but not the religious reasons. You see Mr. C it is not about the money — it is about my health, my life and the worshop of the many gods To say “its just about the money” is a personal and a religious insult.

    4. Diego says:

      It looks to me like the “wall” is beginning to fall for many of us. I wish those in states that don’t have more compassionate laws regarding cannabis nothing but the best. We can make this change. We the people are the government, not the DEA.

    5. Diego says:

      One more thing. It seems the house and senate have this funny notion that we work for them. It’s just the opposite. They work for us. Keep this in mind. Write your congress people, call your congress people, get out and drum up support for at least decriminalization if not outright legalization.
      I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone on this board of the tremendous cost not only to our society, but that of Mexico as well. Much money and lives are being needlessly wasted. It’s time to put the legacy of Mr. Hearst finally to rest.

    6. [...] to legitimate dangerous lifestyle choices. In California, students were instrumental in getting Health & Safety Code 11357b passed into law last month, effectively legalizing the deadly narcotic. To contain this crisis, [...]

    7. uppidycowgirl says:

      Here in Fresno, Ca, they have banned outdoor growing, does anyone know if a greenhouse is considered indoor or outdoor? I cannot find ANYTHING online to clarify… thanks

    8. Anonymous says:

      new york should be next

    9. Rich C says:

      A step forward indeed but please remain aware of the hidden penalty many states still reserve, that being the “tax stamp” requirement. For instance though 1.5 oz or less is a misdemeanor with fine up to $200 in Minnesota, the failure to have a tax stamp for that amount could result in a fine of up to $14,000 (yes thousand). Other states have similar laws in effect.

    10. aggrivated says:

      “an infraction, punishable by no more than a $100 fine — no court appearance, no court costs, and no criminal record”

      Well this all seems to be BS as i got a citation in violation of section 11357(B) and total bail amount due is $455 with a court date if i choose to appeal.

    11. [...] and just got a 100$ fine. As the new law dictates. I think you should show this to your lawyer. http://blog.norml.org/2011/01/03/cal…now-state-law/ GS_googleAddAdSenseService("ca-pub-9888434945255495"); GS_googleEnableAllServices(); [...]

    12. [...] the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil infraction became law on [...]

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