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  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director October 28, 2011

    This Week in WeedThe latest installment of “This Week in Weed” is now streaming on NORMLtv.

    This week: politicians in California speak out against the federal crackdown and a new study looks at impairment levels in casual and heavy cannabis consumers.

    Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv each Thursday afternoon to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to be notified as soon as new content is added.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 23, 2010

    Outgoing California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has until Thursday, September 30, to decide the fate of Senate Bill 1449which would reduce adult marijuana possession charges from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil infraction. That gives reformers one final week to lobby for this sensible reform. If you have not yet contacted the Governor in support of this historic legislation, please do so today.

    Senate Bill 1449 amends the California Health and Safety Code so that the adult possession of up to 28.5 grams of marijuana is classified as an infraction, punishable by no more than a $100 fine — no court appearance, no court costs, and no criminal record.

    Passage of bill would save the state millions of dollars in court costs by keeping minor marijuana offenders out of court. The number of misdemeanor pot prosecutions has surged in recent years, reaching 61,388 in 2008. Adults who consume marijuana responsibly are not part of the crime problem, and the state should stop treating them like criminals.

    Governor Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has vetoed several different marijuana law reform bills in the past. Therefore, if you live in California, it is vital that you please e-mail or call Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office and urge him to sign SB 1449 into law. For your convenience, a pre-written letter will be e-mailed to the Governor when you visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 25, 2010

    While most Californians and the media in recent months have understandably remained focused on The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 — which seeks to eliminate criminal penalties for the adult personal possession and cultivation of marijuana — state lawmakers in Sacramento have quietly been moving forward on a cannabis liberalization bill of their own.

    Senate Bill 1449, which seeks to reduce personal, non-medical marijuana possession penalties from a criminal misdemeanor to an infraction, is now only one vote away from heading to Gov. Schwarzenegger’s desk.

    On Wednesday, members of the California Assembly Committee on Public Safety voted 4 to 1 to send the measure to the Assembly floor. (Senate lawmakers had previously voted 21 to 13 in favor of the bill.) Once the full Assembly acts, the measure will go before the Governor for his signature.

    Under current law, marijuana possession has a unique status in California law as the only misdemeanor that is not punishable by arrest or jail time. However, offenders must still appear in court, pay a fine ($100), and pay court costs (approximately $200). In addition, defendants who wish to avoid a criminal record must attend a court-ordered diversion program. Defendants who do not attend such a program are saddled with a criminal record for at least two years following their conviction.

    By making possession an infraction, Senate Bill 1449 would spare possession offenders time in court or the risk of a criminal record. Instead, they would simply pay a fine.

    More information about S.B. 1449 is available from California NORML, and from NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.