The new year brings a new marijuana law to California – SB1449 went into effect when the clock hit midnight on January 1. The bill, which was introduce by California Senator Mark Leno (reported here previously), the law was approved by Governor Schwarzenegger in October of 2010 reducing the penalties of possessing less than one ounce of marijuana to an infraction, punishable by a $100 fine. Previously possession would have been a criminal offense, leaving the defendant facing a record and other long term, life altering, affects.
Proponents of the measure, including Schwarzenegger, say that the law will reduce the burden on the court system to process such petty offenses, saving the state of California much needed money. Opponents of the law take it a step further and feel that non-payment of the fines may result in more serious charges than the offender would have initially faced and have the opposite of the desired outcome. Yet another camp feels that the law does not do enough, and that marijuana should have been fully legalized long ago.
The full text of the new law can be found here http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_1401-1450/sb_1449_bill_20100405_amended_sen_v98.html