California reduces possession of marijuana from misdemeanor to “infraction”

posted at 10:13 pm on October 1, 2010 by Allahpundit

It’s a budgetary measure. These days, isn’t everything?

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.”…

Stephen Gutwillig, the California state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, a group based in New York that advocates for drug law reform, said the law could be particularly meaningful for black men, who have been found to be arrested for possession at far higher rates than white men.

No more time and expense wasted on potential jury trials for those caught with an ounce or less of weed, in other words — and no more criminal records for offenders. NORML is, as you might imagine, ecstatic. One thing I don’t get, though: Schwarzenegger opposes Proposition 19, the ballot measure California’s set to vote on next month that would decriminalize marijuana possession entirely. That being so, why’d he sign this new bill now instead of waiting until after the vote? All this does is generate a news cycle reminding voters that Sacramento is already moving towards decriminalization. Softens up the opposition a bit, no?

The latest poll on Prop 19, by the way, has 52 percent in favor. Gird your loins. Exit question: Should this be Christie’s next crusade in New Jersey? He’s already got some libertarian cred thanks to his union dragonslaying. Might as well cement it by going to bat for weed.


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That should save some money and stimulate the economy.

esnap on October 1, 2010 at 10:17 PM

In a month it will probably be fully legal, so makes sense to stop the charade.

El_Terrible on October 1, 2010 at 10:17 PM

Interesting from that poll:

65 percent of those who plan to vote no say the outcome is very important, compared to 42 percent of likely voters who plan to vote yes.

Those who oppose the measure are more passionate than those who support it. Which may bode well for the “yes” crowd.

amerpundit on October 1, 2010 at 10:18 PM

Does CA’s new normal mean drug dealing, rape, and murder will eventually be misdemeanors too? That’ll save even more money.

anXdem on October 1, 2010 at 10:20 PM

In a month it will probably be fully legal, so makes sense to stop the charade.

El_Terrible on October 1, 2010 at 10:17 PM

Nope. As we’ve been told time and time again, federal law is supreme. You still have the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 with which to contend.

amerpundit on October 1, 2010 at 10:20 PM

One stoner/Liberatarian Thread…coming up!

kingsjester on October 1, 2010 at 10:21 PM

Just legalize it already. It’s more trouble than it’s worth by having it illegal IMO. I don’t use it nor do I encourage others to use it (and no, my thinking it should be legal isn’t encouraging its use, it’s a personal choice) but I think we waste too many resources on keeping it illegal.

Yakko77 on October 1, 2010 at 10:22 PM

He’s obviously trying to undercut Prop 19 with this move by making it seem less necessary.

However, this was still a good decision to make, and I doubt it will actually undermine support for 19 in any real way. Which is obviously a good thing – I know I’m voting for it.

Inkblots on October 1, 2010 at 10:25 PM

O/T Greta is skewering Gloria Allred right now!

bluemarlin on October 1, 2010 at 10:26 PM

Jay Leno on The Tonight Show:

“The Marijuana Initiative. I like saying it. It’s the only time you get to say ‘marijuana’ and ‘initiative’ in the same sentence.”

Firmworm on October 1, 2010 at 10:26 PM

Dude.

Duuuuuuude.

Good Lt on October 1, 2010 at 10:27 PM

Time for everyone to buy stock in snack food companies

F15Mech on October 1, 2010 at 10:29 PM

Does CA’s new normal mean drug dealing, rape, and murder will eventually be misdemeanors too? That’ll save even more money.

anXdem on October 1, 2010 at 10:20 PM

The first one, possibly. I believe operating an unlicensed business is a misdemeanor, unless I’m mistaken. The other two? Well, let me answer that question with another: what are you smoking?

Inkblots on October 1, 2010 at 10:29 PM

Gotta do something for those who are unemployed…Next week’s news cycle, “Sales of munchies up”…

Gohawgs on October 1, 2010 at 10:31 PM

Got munchies?

txag92 on October 1, 2010 at 10:31 PM

OT: Greta HAMMERED Allred.

John the Libertarian on October 1, 2010 at 10:32 PM

Someone shares their story of how marijuana destroyed someone’s life in a way not dissimilar to the way abuse of alcohol destroys other people’s lives in 3…2…

MadisonConservative on October 1, 2010 at 10:34 PM

Road trip!

aquaviva on October 1, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Time for everyone to buy stock in snack food companies

F15Mech on October 1, 2010 at 10:29 PM

Just hope CA doesn’t ban them.

El_Terrible on October 1, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Far out!! Like really kewl. Like Duuude.

And, yeah, pass the Dutchie from the left hand side, bro.

[BTW, Mother Earth grows her own, why can't we?]

At least a good chunk of the residents of Kaleeefornnya won’t be conscious as the state collapses around them.

coldwarrior on October 1, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Is marijuana smoke a green house gas? California’s cap and trade thingy starts next year I thinks. Hmmmmmm…

El_Terrible on October 1, 2010 at 10:37 PM

Another hippie magnet for California. Cali may be lost forever, but at least they will suck liberal from other states now making them more conservatives.

Nevada and Colorado just got a little more Red.

swamp_yankee on October 1, 2010 at 10:40 PM

Someone shares their story of how marijuana destroyed someone’s life in a way not dissimilar to the way abuse of alcohol destroys other people’s lives in 3…2…

MadisonConservative on October 1, 2010 at 10:34 PM

You and your facts. Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.

Won’t you please think of the children!?!

Inkblots on October 1, 2010 at 10:44 PM

Someone shares their story of how marijuana destroyed someone’s life in a way not dissimilar to the way abuse of alcohol destroys other people’s lives in 3…2…

MadisonConservative on October 1, 2010 at 10:34 PM

Uh oh. No one can do that now. MadisonConservative did that countdown thing.

Dongemaharu on October 1, 2010 at 10:51 PM

Nope. As we’ve been told time and time again, federal law is supreme. You still have the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 with which to contend.

amerpundit on October 1, 2010 at 10:20 PM

Good luck getting the feds to enforce it. Especially simple possession.

crr6 on October 1, 2010 at 10:51 PM

tax it

Alden Pyle on October 1, 2010 at 10:53 PM

Good luck getting the feds to enforce it. Especially simple possession.

crr6 on October 1, 2010 at 10:51 PM

Yeah, I guess you are right, he will only sue a state in compliance with Federal law!

bluemarlin on October 1, 2010 at 10:57 PM

Yakko77:

Just legalize it already. It’s more trouble than it’s worth by having it illegal IMO. I don’t use it nor do I encourage others to use it (and no, my thinking it should be legal isn’t encouraging its use, it’s a personal choice) but I think we waste too many resources on keeping it illegal.

Right on.

Alden Pyle:

tax it

You betcha.

Lynn B. on October 1, 2010 at 10:58 PM

This is fine as far as it goes, but it does nothing to reduce the profits to gangs and organized crime. Only legalization of small-scale growing can do that, in my opinion.

Bugler on October 1, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Why is this an issue?

Fighton03 on October 1, 2010 at 11:06 PM

Actually this is an attack on the Proposition. Defanging a large reason a non user would vote for for the measure, the reduction in the cost to the government and the removal of making users criminals.

astonerii on October 1, 2010 at 11:07 PM

what are you smoking?

Inkblots on October 1, 2010 at 10:29 PM

Use to be Marlboros.

anXdem on October 1, 2010 at 11:09 PM

Good luck getting the feds to enforce it. Especially simple possession.

crr6 on October 1, 2010 at 10:51 PM

Yeah, I guess you are right, he will only sue a state in compliance with Federal law!

bluemarlin on October 1, 2010 at 10:57 PM

States don’t need to enforce federal laws. You’re aware of that, right? I’d think you federalism-types would support that proposition.

crr6 on October 1, 2010 at 11:16 PM

Why don’t these lazy Californians quit laying around smoking dope and get a real job. Oh! yeah, they drove all the real jobs like oil drilling and farming out of the state by banning drilling and cutting the farmer’s water off.

Oh well, maybe after they legalize marijuana they will let the hemp farmers have some water.

KW64 on October 1, 2010 at 11:17 PM

This is fine as far as it goes, but it does nothing to reduce the profits to gangs and organized crime. Only legalization of small-scale growing can do that, in my opinion.

Bugler on October 1, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Exactly right! Keeping the black-market in place will just make the mexi-cartels alot more money=guns/bullets.

whiskeytango on October 1, 2010 at 11:18 PM

This is fine as far as it goes, but it does nothing to reduce the profits to gangs and organized crime. Only legalization of small-scale growing can do that, in my opinion.

Bugler on October 1, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Legalizing booze didn’t get rid of the mafia and legalizing drugs won’t get rid of the street gangs. The profit margin for cocaine is around 95% and that of Prozak also 95%. Booze is around 70-75%. CD’s, cigarettes, and DVD’s are smuggled as is cocaine, booze, and prescription drugs.

They will deal whatever you don’t legalize to whomever you prevent from buying. If you legalize everything, they will produce cheaper products and sell those.

sharrukin on October 1, 2010 at 11:19 PM

Legalize Clove Cigarettes!

El_Terrible on October 1, 2010 at 11:20 PM

This is just the beginning folks. When Mexico becomes Lebanon of the West we will have to make all drugs legal. We won’t really have much choice.

slickwillie2001 on October 1, 2010 at 11:23 PM

Buy Krispie Kreme stock

Wine_N_Dine on October 1, 2010 at 11:25 PM

What a bunch of morons…..
…This state has gone from the 8th largest economy in the world to beyond broke and what is one of their main priorities…..
…………getting high on dope.

….maybe they can take the toys they are banning from the happy meals and give one with the purchase of an oz…..

Baxter Greene on October 1, 2010 at 11:40 PM

Total B.S. No one demands a jury trial on this. No one. If they did, the DA would reduce it to a straight infraction and allow them to have a court trial. Nothing has changed. This is really silly.

Blake on October 1, 2010 at 11:40 PM

No more time and expense wasted on potential jury trials for those caught with an ounce or less of weed…

Never happened.

and no more criminal records for offenders.

Of course, it still shows on your record.

Blake on October 1, 2010 at 11:42 PM

This is one of those issues that shows why, as a conservative, I don’t take libertarians very seriously.

Knott Buyinit on October 1, 2010 at 11:42 PM

Hopefully Arnie’s against 19 because of the enormous beurocracy legalization will create. Law enforcement will double. A 21st century version of revenuers. Worst of all, any money generated by this joke will go directly into a broken public pension fund.

If it passes our public school teachers won’t have to worry about their BMW payment any more.

repvoter on October 1, 2010 at 11:43 PM

Legalize Clove Cigarettes!

El_Terrible on October 1, 2010 at 11:20 PM

Ask for clove cigars. They found a loophole. ;)

MadisonConservative on October 1, 2010 at 11:43 PM

Good luck getting the feds to enforce it. Especially simple possession.

crr6 on October 1, 2010 at 10:51 PM

You are sooo smart. / What a dim bulb.

CWforFreedom on October 1, 2010 at 11:48 PM

Someone shares their story of how marijuana destroyed someone’s life in a way not dissimilar to the way abuse of alcohol destroys other people’s lives in 3…2…

MadisonConservative on October 1, 2010 at 10:34 PM

LikE wow man. I’ve been smoking grass for years and the doctors at the sate mental hospital asure me that it’s not cause on my attentiOn problem……..What are we talking about.

BruceB on October 1, 2010 at 11:55 PM

Legalizing booze didn’t get rid of the mafia…

sharrukin on October 1, 2010 at 11:19 PM

You’re right. They moved to drugs. Legalize drugs, what do they move to?

MadisonConservative on October 1, 2010 at 11:57 PM

You’re right. They moved to drugs. Legalize drugs, what do they move to?

MadisonConservative on October 1, 2010 at 11:57 PM

The smugglers boats used to be called ‘Rum Runners’, then they got the name ‘Cigarette Boats’. Can you guess why?

Gambling is legal in Nevada so I guess there was no Mafia involved, right?

CD’s, DVD’s, electronics, cigarettes, alcohol, shoes, prescription drugs, etc, cannot possibly be smuggled due to their legality right?

sharrukin on October 2, 2010 at 12:12 AM

You’re right. They moved to drugs. Legalize drugs, what do they move to?

MadisonConservative on October 1, 2010 at 11:57 PM

Lemonade stands?

Inkblots on October 2, 2010 at 12:15 AM

So…what else is going to be decriminalized as a ‘budgetary measure’? Let’s make it a game – “How Many Things Can We Surrender To Crooks On Before Society Collapses.” (hmm. name needs work.)

Legalize drugs, what do they move to?

MadisonConservative on October 1, 2010 at 11:57 PM

Anything from prostitution to loan operations to gambling. In short, anything with a shady area that can turn a profit. So unless you want to legalize everything (which leads directly to anarchy)…you have to draw the line somewhere.

You are sooo smart. / What a dim bulb.

CWforFreedom on October 1, 2010 at 11:48 PM

Said the status LED to the penlight.

Dark-Star on October 2, 2010 at 12:18 AM

Marihuana must NOT be legalized in California, nor anywhere in the United States.

Reason: marihuana is a gateway drug that leads to the creation of more Democrats.

Do we need more Democrats, really? I think not.

FlameWarrior on October 2, 2010 at 12:19 AM

Possession may now be a slap on the wrist but DUI will still mean huge fines and possible jail time.

Expect to see a lot of “but I thought it was only a misdemeanor” stoners getting hauled off to jail until they realize that no ….it’s still illegal to drive while high on the pot.

Who needs a Prop 19 tax …just assign fleets of ticket-writing cops into every concert venue in the state and our budget problems will be over in no time.

The Ugly American on October 2, 2010 at 12:31 AM

No one is happier about this than the Mexican drug cartels. They are probably buying more guns, trucks, and cops as we speak.

pedestrian on October 2, 2010 at 12:52 AM

No one is happier about this than the Mexican drug cartels. They are probably buying more guns, trucks, and cops as we speak.

pedestrian on October 2, 2010 at 12:52 AM

Too true. Much longer and I fear the leaders can just march into the Mexican government offices and start dictating surrender terms.

Dark-Star on October 2, 2010 at 1:03 AM

Exit question: Should this be Christie’s next crusade in New Jersey? He’s already got some libertarian cred thanks to his union dragonslaying. Might as well cement it by going to bat for weed.

Much as I like the idea, a rather obvious point comes to mind…

California ain’t Jersey. Not by a long shot.

JohnGalt23 on October 2, 2010 at 1:07 AM

Nope. As we’ve been told time and time again, federal law is supreme. You still have the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 with which to contend.

amerpundit on October 1, 2010 at 10:20 PM

Yeah. I’m sure there are US Attorney’s and Federal District Courts up and down the state of California that are just waiting for their opportunity to prosecute marijuana possession cases.

Removing state prohibition is a sea change.

JohnGalt23 on October 2, 2010 at 1:10 AM

The feds used to just tax Marijuana. The old tax stamps are actually quite collectible.

trigon on October 2, 2010 at 2:13 AM

The reduction in penalty was an effort to head off a yes vote on Proposition 19. Question the timing. There was no consensus for it until the polls showed that the proposition was going to win. They are hoping that support will diminish with the signing of this bill.

Legalization is long overdue. I want to be there for the lighting of the eternal bong.

scrubjay on October 2, 2010 at 2:16 AM

As I’ve asked before, how can California trump federal law that makes pot illegal by legalizing it there but Arizona can’t trump federal immigration laws? And actually, Arizona isn’t even trumping fed law, it’s only enforcing it.

Big John on October 2, 2010 at 2:17 AM

Tax stamps. State and Federal government.

Stamps

There. Ya’ll learned something. :-)

trigon on October 2, 2010 at 2:19 AM

Each day this poor sick state moves one step closer to “Idiocracy” . . . soon Costco will stock only red sofas and chairs.

rplat on October 2, 2010 at 6:28 AM

Just legalize it already. It’s more trouble than it’s worth by having it illegal IMO. I don’t use it nor do I encourage others to use it (and no, my thinking it should be legal isn’t encouraging its use, it’s a personal choice) but I think we waste too many resources on keeping it illegal.

Agreed.

madne0 on October 2, 2010 at 6:55 AM

Looking for budgetary issues instead of a stoned population, you could try a legal population. California went from the high tech capital of the world, to the most illegals in malls of any nation.

tarpon on October 2, 2010 at 7:35 AM

Yakko77 on October 1, 2010 at 10:22 PM

Then legalize all substances that other people want to use.

hawkdriver on October 2, 2010 at 8:28 AM

Legalizing booze didn’t get rid of the mafia and legalizing drugs won’t get rid of the street gangs

sharrukin on October 1, 2010 at 11:19 PM

How many people get killed for selling Corona?

Bugler on October 2, 2010 at 8:55 AM

Uh, I forgot what I was going to say.

forest on October 2, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Make pot legal while making tobacco illegal. There’s some irony for ya.

TinMan13 on October 2, 2010 at 9:35 AM

Looking for budgetary issues instead of a stoned population, you could try a legal population. California went from the high tech capital of the world, to the most illegals in malls of any nation.

tarpon on October 2, 2010 at 7:35 AM

The Silicon Valley continues to lead innovation even though many there sometimes enjoy a spliff.

dedalus on October 2, 2010 at 9:44 AM

I think we should criminalize trans fats, salt, happy meal toys and marijuana. It goes without saying that we should oulaw all alcohol,tobacco,and firearms. Recycling should be mandatory, with steep fines for individuals who refude to comply. We also need to get serious about enforcing seat belt and helmet laws for motorists! And a nation-wide, federal law prohibiting cell phone use while driving is long overdue. When a culture decides to ignore scientific evidence and grim statistics by engaging in risky and irresponsible behavior, then it’s up to the federal (and local!) government to enforce laws that protect people from themselves. And if you disagree with me consider the children – if parents aren’t in control of their kids, then those kids become everyone’s responsibility.

Dork B. on October 2, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Make pot legal while making tobacco illegal. There’s some irony for ya.

TinMan13 on October 2, 2010 at 9:35 AM

Kinda like making seat belts mandatory while making motorcycle helmets optional. I guess whoever is making the most noise gets their way.

forest on October 2, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Placating the masses so they will be too high when they have to pay 95% tax and everything deemed harmful to the environment is now banned or taxed to the hilt. But that is only if you are an American, if you are not everything is free.

tjexcite on October 2, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Has anyone considered the insurance ramifications of legalizing pot? Auto insurance rates? Health insurance premiums? Life insurance? I know that here in MD, there are life insurance commercials on all the time that say things like “43, male, non-smoker can get a rate of …”

Won’t this law, if passed, require that folks get tested before they can get health or life insurance? And if you are tested for THC to enroll in your employer’s health insurance plan, and test positive, might you then be fired? And isn’t it possible that auto insurance companies will conclude that Cali has just created a greater risk situation?

But, what the hell, if you want to get high legally, there’s no reason that increased costs for everyone should be a deterrent, right?

BKeyser on October 2, 2010 at 10:24 AM

If I smell the stuff, I’m calling the Feds from now on.

unclesmrgol on October 2, 2010 at 11:08 AM

You’re right. They moved to drugs. Legalize drugs, what do they move to?

MadisonConservative on October 1, 2010 at 11:57 PM

Legal meth. Heh.

unclesmrgol on October 2, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Legalizing booze didn’t get rid of the mafia and legalizing drugs won’t get rid of the street gangs

sharrukin on October 1, 2010 at 11:19 PM

How many people get killed for selling Corona?

Bugler on October 2, 2010 at 8:55 AM

How many get killed for selling cigarettes?

http://www.reportingproject.net/new/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=51&Itemid=47

Its great though that the mafia stopped hurting people and doing mean and nasty things after they legalized alcohol. /s

sharrukin on October 2, 2010 at 11:12 AM

It’s a fines enhancement act.

CA has this particularly nasty way of doubling, then adding a bunch of “fees” to a nominal fine. This $100 will really surprise some tokers when they must pay say $450 or $600 for their stash. Then there will be a fee for THC testing and another for recording. Maybe get the “fine” up to $1100.

Almost forgot the “Substance Abuse School” at $500.

Sweet, too because an infraction does not need a trial.

Oh, right. The stop was for a tail light out.

Caststeel on October 2, 2010 at 4:27 PM

What’s Callyforny’s unemployment level again?

Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.” — Freewheelin’ Franklin

ericdijon on October 2, 2010 at 5:04 PM

You have no right to tell me what I can do in my own home. I support seven people quite well, and my children are smart, happy and healthy. I pull my weight, now leave me alone.

And no. I don’t partake, because the worst thing that could happen to my children is having their father taken away.

Squiggy on October 2, 2010 at 5:23 PM

sharrukin on October 2, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Legal trade in products drives precisely zero crime. You know this, but you don’t want to admit it. I understand.

Bugler on October 3, 2010 at 12:46 AM

Legal trade in products drives precisely zero crime. You know this, but you don’t want to admit it. I understand.

Bugler on October 3, 2010 at 12:46 AM

Yeah man, cause like… if its legal… then, you know, its not, like… illegal, right? Pass me another one, dude.

sharrukin on October 3, 2010 at 1:37 AM

Its great though that the mafia stopped hurting people and doing mean and nasty things after they legalized alcohol. /s

It’s a wonder how social conservatives are perfectly capable of spewing the same borderline insane crap you may hear from a radical leftist. Leftists would say “so what difference do police make? it’s not like people stopped killing each other”, socon would say well what you said above. Gangs are thriving, innocent people’s lives are being destroyed and taxpayer is billed to keep it this way. I’m sure Jesus would be proud.

Alexey on October 3, 2010 at 5:12 AM

Make pot legal while making tobacco illegal. There’s some irony for ya.

While I would never support making tobacco illegal, it would actually be kinda fun because many of those sanctimonious upright citizens who now lecture everyone about evilness of pot will turn into criminals overnight. And then, while some are headed to jail, we could lecture them about insurance costs, stupidity of tobacco use etc.

Alexey on October 3, 2010 at 5:21 AM

Legal trade in products drives precisely zero crime.

In and of itself – certainly – but not among the black markets built upon the same commodities that are taxed by the controlling governments. How naive…

ericdijon on October 3, 2010 at 10:04 AM

If I smell the stuff, I’m calling the Feds from now on.

unclesmrgol on October 2, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Why? Are you making it your life’s mission to get a chuckle out of a US Attorney?

JohnGalt23 on October 3, 2010 at 3:36 PM

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. I am not alone :)

adamsmith on October 3, 2010 at 4:53 PM