Daily Pager

A blog about culture and politics

California decriminalizes marijuana

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Gov. Schwarzenegger just signed a measure that downgrades pot possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction. 

The Republican governor’s unexpected support for the measure comes one month before voters decide whether to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana in California.

“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,” wrote Schwarzenegger, who opposes Proposition 19, the marijuana initiative.

The law, which takes effect immediately, reduces possession of up to an ounce of marijuana – enough for about 30 joints – from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Already, marijuana possession was the only misdemeanor under California law that didn’t allow for jail time.

This new reality may change the dynamic of the state’s Prop 19 Ballot next month. 

If voters approve Prop. 19 next month, it will be legal for adults older than 21 to possess and use the drug. Even if the ballot measure fails, the approval of SB1449 indicates a slight thawing in long-standing opposition to legalizing the drug, and recent polls have shown growing support for Prop. 19 over just a few months.

Some potentially soft “yes” voters may change to “no” after having taken into account the new middle-ground reality which, prior to this week, didn’t exist.  

More on Prop 19:

Outside the Beltway’s – On Legalizing Marijuana

Andrew Sullivan’s – If Prop 19 Passes 

Hot Air’s Allahpundit:

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.

That seems to be a bridge too far for NJ’s Christie.  During his campaign for governor, on the subject of medical marijuana, he said this..

“We don’t want people who have a headache to be able to go and get marijuana,” he said. “We want to make sure we don’t turn into California.”

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Written by dailypager

October 3, 2010 at 1:14 am

Posted in California, Marijuana, NJ

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