California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) Thursday signed into law a bill that decriminalizes the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. The bill reduces simple possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction.It looks to me like the drug war will end, not because it is wrong, but because it is unaffordable.
Currently, small-time pot possession is "semi-decriminalized" in California. There is no possible jail sentence and a maximum $100 fine. But because possession is a misdemeanor, people caught with pot are "arrested," even if that means only they are served a notice to appear, and they must appear before a court.
That has happened to more than a half million Californians in the last decade, and more than 60,000 last year alone. Every one of them required a court appearance, complete with judge and prosecutor. That costs the cash-strapped state money it desperately needs.
The bill the Governor signed may also have something to do with
Proposition 19, which is on the ballot this November. And what would Prop. 19 do? Legalize marijuana production and sales. This decrim vote should help the pro Prop. 19 forces.