Decriminalized? Pot possession now a ticketable offense in California

Lately it feels a lot like we are moving back to the 1960s and 70s when we had greater personal freedom.  It will take a long time to undo the damage done by Reagan and all the right wingers.

Ending the War on Drugs is only part of it.  We also have to criminalize corporate drug testing as a warrantless search.

From Raw Story:

By Daniel Tencer
Friday, October 1st, 2010 — 5:53 pm

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday signed into law a change to California’s marijuana laws that some describe as a reduction of criminal penalties and others are describing as being effectively decriminalization.

The move comes a month before California voters decide on Proposition 19, a ballot initiative that would fully legalize, regulate and tax marijuana in the state — a move the governor opposed even as he signed the new bill into law.

Under the new legal regime, marijuana possession will be a civil infraction, like a speeding ticket, and will be punishable by a $100 fine. Previously, possession was a misdemeanor, even though the penalty was the same — a $100 fine, with no jail time possible.

For some observers, this is a de facto decriminalization, as marijuana possession would no longer be reflected in a criminal record. But, as CBS News notes, the fundamental change will be that those who are issued a ticket for marijuana possession will no longer have the ability to challenge the charge in court.

“Notwithstanding my opposition to Proposition 19 … I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name,” Schwarzenegger wrote in his signing statement. “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.”

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