Legislation recently introduced in the California Senate seeks to reduce adult marijuana possession penalties from a misdemeanor to an infraction.
Under current law, marijuana possession has a unique status in California law as the only misdemeanor that is not punishable by arrest or jail time. However, offenders must still appear in court, pay a fine ($100), and pay court costs (approximately $200). In addition, defendants who wish to avoid a criminal record must attend a court-ordered diversion program. Defendants who do not attend such a program are saddled with a criminal record for at least two years following their conviction.
By making possession an infraction, the bill would spare possession offenders time in court, related court costs, or the risk of a criminal record. Instead, they would simply pay a fine. (Note: As introduced, the fine is proposed to be $250. California NORML maintains that this fine is too expensive and has assurances from the sponsor that the proposed fine will be amended to $100.)
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More information about S.B. 1449 is available from California NORML.
Please take two minutes of your time today to write your state senator and urge him or her to support reducing marijuana possession penalties. For your convenience, pre-written letters will be e-mailed to your member of the Senate when you enter your contact information below.
Thank you for supporting NORML’s marijuana law reform efforts in California.