In California, Pot Possession Is Now Like a Traffic Ticket

Having less than an ounce is just an infraction
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2010 9:49 AM CDT
Possessing less than an ounce of pot is now on par with a traffic ticket in California.   (AP)

(Newser) – California residents caught holding small amounts of marijuana are now barely criminals in the eyes of the law. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into effect a measure that downgrades possession of less than an ounce from a misdemeanor to a lowly infraction, on par with a speeding ticket, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The move comes a month ahead of a proposition to legalize recreational use altogether.

Schwarzenegger, who opposes the proposition to legalize, explained his surprising support for the new law as a cost-cutting move for police and prosecutors. Those caught with pot face a fine of $100, but they won't be arrested or face trial. Nor will the mark show up on a criminal record. "It's one more small victory," says the originator of Prop 19.

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