NORML Action Alert: Urge California’s Gov. Schwarzenegger To Sign Marijuana Infraction Measure

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 1, 2010

    On Monday, members of the California Assembly approved Senate Bill 1449, which reduces adult marijuana possession offenses in California from a criminal misdemeanor to an infraction, by a vote of 43 to 33.

    The vote split largely along party lines, with Democrats voting 40 to 8 in favor of more lenient penalties and Republicans voting 2 to 23 against. Senate lawmakers had previously approved the measure in June by a vote of 21 to 13.

    The marijuana infraction bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for his approval.

    Under present law, minor marijuana possession for non-medical purposes is classified as a criminal misdemeanor. While the offense is not punishable by jail time, defendants charged under the law must appear in court, pay court costs, and attend a court-ordered diversion program. Offenders who refuse to attend the program may retain a criminal record for up to two years.

    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 a noncriminal 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 pot offenders out of court. The number of misdemeanor pot arrests has surged in recent years, reaching 61,388 in 2008, the highest level since the state partially decriminalized pot possession in 1976.

    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 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.

    56 responses to “NORML Action Alert: Urge California’s Gov. Schwarzenegger To Sign Marijuana Infraction Measure”

    1. Ben says:

      Even before they fully legalize it this year, California takes more steps to protect users. If I didn’t live on the completely opposite side of the USA, I would already be looking for a place to live over there.

    2. Neal Smith says:

      Does California’s governor have the money to continue rampant enforcement of Marijuana laws? Maybe he should think about how bad his state is economically and how his legacy would be improved if he did the right thing by his citizens.

    3. Maureen P. Murphy says:

      Gov. Schwarzenegger: I am not a California resident (I live in Staten Island, New York) but I am a committed activist for marijuana legalization, and everyone is watching California for its resolution of this issue. Hopefully you will be part of this change which I firmly believe is in the best interest of the entire country. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

      Maureen P. Murphy

    4. Hi says:

      I wish I lived in California so my letter would be taken seriously… I think I’ll write anyways!

    5. Brendubbin says:

      Arnold should sign he used to smoke it watch pumping iron. Jesus, the hypocrisy is overwhelming…if its not americans telling canada we cannot legalize it is people in power in america, who likely smoke it, stopping the end to prohibition. Its funny though, when canada decriminalized marijuana the good ol USA CRUSHED it through media and political blackballing…but….ah yes…its all making sense now. America needs the money more than we do….maybe a stoned canada is a threat to american sovereignty? nah, just the economy…which the gov has already screwed beyond comprehension.

      Bottom Line tho – Prohibition doesnt work and is far too expensive to make any logical sense.

    6. It’s a step in the right position but still leaves Marijuana as an infraction . Beer & other alcoholic beverages , tobacco which kill thousands of people is not illegal & you are not fined .
      Ever been to , Russia ? Well , as soon as you reach the outskirts of town on nearly every Highway are sign after sign , billboard after billboard advertising Vodka or some other deadly beverage . These signs are spaced 20 feet apart & all over the place . These poor Russians are killing themselves & others with liquor . It’s a sad state over there .

    7. Anonymous says:

      Could someone please look into ; ” Maplight ” & see who his major contributers were when he ran for Governor & how much he’s recieved from the Drug Companies , tobacco & liquor ?
      I’ll bet you it was a considerable amount of money he recieved !

    8. shawn kearney says:

      it’s time our governments put their regulations where their mouths are. If casual users are not being arrested anyway, then this law will make no difference except put it in the books and protect people from unfair punishment due to race and economic background.