Schwarzenegger says California can't afford tough marijuana punishment. Do you agree?
Citing budget cuts, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that would downgrade possession of an ounce or less from a misdemeanor to an infraction.
"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," Schwarzenegger wrote in a signing message.
SB 1449 was written by state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who said it would keep marijuana-related cases from going to court-clogging jury trials, although the penalty would remain a fine of up to $100 but no jail time.
The governor stressed that he does not support legalizing pot in California, The Times' Patrick McGreevy reports on PolitiCal, The Times' California politics blog.
What do you think of this change? Share your views below.
-- Shelby Grad
Photo: Marijuana confiscated in a LAPD pot bust. Credit: Los Angeles Times