California downgrades marijuana possession from misdemeanor to infraction

(FromtheOld)   No more jail time for small amount of marijuana possession instead of a misdemeanor downgraded to an infraction with a fine no bigger than $100 in other words treating it like a traffic ticker. Bill SB 1449 was introduced by Senator Mark Leno and was approved by the California state Assembly 43-33 votes and signed into law by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Up until now millions was spent each year to prosecute people in possession of marijuana no matter what the amount. Leaving the people with criminal records and taking up the courts time. Last year there was more than 60 000 Californians who found themselves booked for carrying a small amounts of Marijuana. This was the main argument for passing the bill was to safe money for the state and that the courts could concentrate their efforts on more serious crimes.

SB 1449, as introduced, Leno. Marijuana: possession.
   Existing law provides that, except as authorized by law, every
person who possesses not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other
than concentrated cannabis, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be
punished by a fine of not more than $100. Existing law provides for
this offense that under specified conditions (1) the court shall
divert and refer the defendant for education, treatment, or
rehabilitation, as specified, and (2) an arrested person who gives
satisfactory evidence of identity and a written promise to appear in
court shall not be subjected to booking.
   This bill would instead provide that, except as authorized by law,
every person who possesses not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana,
other than concentrated cannabis, is guilty of an infraction
punishable by a fine of not more than $250. By changing the penalties
for an existing crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local
program.
   The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement.
   This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.

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