Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who opposes legalization of marijuana for recreational use, has approved legislation downgrading possession of an ounce or less from a misdemeanor to an infraction.
Supporters say the change will keep marijuana-related cases from becoming court-clogging jury trials, even though the penalty will remain a fine of up to $100, with no jail time. Violations will not go on a person’s record as a crime.
“I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name,” Schwarzenegger wrote in a message released after he signed the bill. “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.”
Good. I’m not in favor of full-spectrum drug legalization, but I’m all for marijuana legalization. The problems that result from making marijuana illegal outweigh the problems marijuana would cause, so I’m glad to see steps like this.