For the first time in 35 years, penalties for non-medical marijuana use have been reduced in CA thanks to Governor Arnold Swarzenegger and the bill SB 1449. Effective January 1, 2011, SB 1449 reduces the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction that is punishable by a $100 fine and no criminal record.
While many Californians are praising Swarzenegger for his decision, which will spare taxpayers from footing the bill when it comes to prosecuting minor pot offenders, the Governor himself has clearly stated that he is opposed to decriminalization and recreational pot use. Swarzenegger states that he looked favorably on Bill SB 1449 because “in the time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources.”
Whatever the reason behind the decision, I think many Californians let out a collective sigh of relief.