At the end of last month Gov. Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1449 into law. The new law makes the possession of one ounce or less of cannabis an infraction incurring a $100.00 penalty.
“Wait a minute,” you might be thinking, “I thought California’s penalty for that was a 100 bone fine all-the-ready?” Okay… maybe you weren’t thinking that, but, I’ll explain anyway.
Yes, it was. The thing is, it was a misdemeanor. That meant arrest, a possible criminal record and standing before the judge. The new law means no more judge. No more record. Now it’s like getting a ticket. “Sign here, send your check or money order here.”
Arny doesn’t back California’s Prop 19; the proposition that would legalize possession of less than one ounce. Some folks theorize that this recent move is an effort to manipulate the upcoming vote. As yet, I haven’t formed an opinion on the matter. I do think eliminating the criminal record aspect is definitely a move in the right direction. That’s a no-brainer, though possibly moot here come November.
Arnold gives the following rational for the new law: “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.”
According to a NORML website, I just referenced, there were 61,164 misdemeanor cannabis arrests last year. Referencing another website, this time a release by Edmund G. Brown Jr., the California Attorney General, there were 174,580 violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, assault) in the state during the same time period. Referencing YET ANOTHER website, this time the California Crime Victims for Alternatives, during the period of 1999 to 2008, 46% of the murders were unsolved.
So now we’ll look at the opposition to Prop 19’s opinion on the matter. Some cat I’ve never heard of, Roger Salazar, who is a spokesman for the No On Prop. 19 group says that the new law negates the argument that legalizing cannabis would let the police focus on dangerous crimes. Hmm, that sounds somewhat reasonable given the above numbers.
(Web search… salizar… No On…)
Oh I see. Salizar is a hired hand. The No On Prop. 19 is the outfit the beer distributing companies donated ten grand to here recently.
And this here, ladies and gentleman, is why I don’t watch much TV. The entertainment is in the real world. I suppose the down side there, though, is it is real. Real lives are at stake.
Damn, I hope the California voters pass 19. Let’s end the madness.