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New Marijuana Law Decreases Penalty

Audio

Aired 10/1/10

The deadline for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign or veto hundreds of bills passed Thursday night. One of the bills he signed into law changes the penalty for marijuana possession.

— The deadline for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign or veto hundreds of bills passed Thursday night. One of the bills he signed into law changes the penalty for marijuana possession.

The penalty for people caught with small amounts of marijuana in California will stay the same under the new law. They’ll be fined $100. But, instead of being cited with a misdemeanor, the fine will be treated like a traffic ticket.

Proponents of the law say it will free up overburdened courts when it goes into effect in January. That's technically true since people cited with misdemeanors must appear in court.

“We do not normally go to court for infractions," said Andrew Jones, San Diego assistant city attorney for the criminal division. "Normally when a police officer writes an infraction, which is a ticket, the police officer himself or herself represents the people at that hearing.”

However, Jones added marijuana misdemeanor cases account for less than 1 percent of the 25,000 cases the city attorney’s office has processed this year.

While his office's workload might be lightened by removing these cases from the downtown criminal courts' dockets, he pointed out that the responsibility gets shifted elsewhere.

“Certainly, it would make a difference from the standpoint of not having them downtown," Jones said. "But, it won’t effect how the police officers are trying each of the cases.”

In November, voters will have the chance to free up the police time devoted to these cases. They will be voting on Proposition 19, which would legalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

Comments

Avatar for user 'mjs123'

mjs123 | October 1, 2010 at 10:26 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Good move. Now the argument that Prop 19 will save the state money is debunked. SB 1449 did it for Prop 19. Vote no on Prop 19.

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Avatar for user 'pablotea'

pablotea | October 1, 2010 at 12:07 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

This will be great, now the police can spend more than the time saved chasing drug crazy stoners as they move up the drug chain, and generally mess with the common citizen. Good move Governator, not!

And for 19, KPBS must be run by a bunch of 60's potheads, what I stupid last paragraph, give me a break Kyla. Can you do some balanced reporting rather Prop 19 advocating???

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Avatar for user 'bullybeer'

bullybeer | October 2, 2010 at 1:52 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

YES On PROP 19!!!! Dot get mad people when we win this November!!

Marijuana SHOULD be legal!! Why let cartels get all the money?? Why Stereo-type People who use the Herb for healing?? Its MEDICINE! You gonna tell a cancer patient that it doesnt help them???

Please,....Run Your OWN lives and let people be free!!! America! Freedom! Remember???? YES ON 19 YES on 19 Yes On 19!!!!!

Legalize it In California!!!! This will be done!!!!!

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Avatar for user 'bullybeer'

bullybeer | October 2, 2010 at 1:55 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Sorry mjs123,...You are Very Mis-guided!
And Pablotea,...What the heck have you been smoking???

Whos moving up what chain??? I smoked for years,..never "Graduated" to Heroin!
Think before you speak!

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