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2010.marijuana bill

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									To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am signing Senate Bill 1449.

This bill changes the crime of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor
punishable only by a $100 fine to an infraction punishable by a $100 fine. Under existing law,
jail time cannot be imposed, probation cannot be ordered, nor can the base fine exceed $100 for
someone convicted of this crime.

I am opposed to decriminalizing the possession and recreational use of marijuana and oppose
Proposition 19, which is on the November ballot. Unfortunately, Proposition 19 is a deeply
flawed measure that, if passed, will adversely impact California’s businesses without bringing in
the tax revenues to the state promised by its proponents. Notwithstanding my opposition to
Proposition 19, however, I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of
marijuana is an infraction in everything but name. The only difference is that because it is a
misdemeanor, a criminal defendant is entitled to a jury trial and a defense attorney. 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. As noted by the Judicial Council in its support of this measure, the appointment of
counsel and the availability of a jury trial should be reserved for defendants who are facing loss
of life, liberty, or property greater than $100.

For these reasons, I am signing this bill.

Sincerely,



Arnold Schwarzenegger

								
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