California Legislature Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Just hours before the state’s legislative session ended Tuesday, the California Assembly voted to approve SB 1449, Sen. Mark Leno’s bill to fully decriminalize simple marijuana possession. The bill passed the Senate in June and now goes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk.

The vote was 43-33 and largely along party lines. Democrats supported the bill 40-8, while Republicans opposed it 23-2.

Under current California law, possession of less than an ounce of pot is punishable by no more than a $100 fine, but is still a misdemeanor. That means people busted for a joint or a half-bag must be arrested, booked, and appear in court, and they get a criminal record. It also means meaningless work for the police and the courts.

Marijuana possession is the only California misdemeanor with a set maximum fine and no possible jail time. The Leno bill changes the offense to an infraction, meaning no arrest, no booking, no court appearance, and no criminal record.

“The penalty for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is a fine of $100, with no jail time,” Leno said on introducing the bill. “If the penalty is $100, with no jail time, that is an infraction. That is not a misdemeanor.”

Keeping simple possession a misdemeanor has had “serious unintended consequences,” the San Francisco Democrat said. “As the number of misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests have surged in recent years, reaching 61,388 in 2008, the burden placed on the courts by these low level offenses are just too much to bear at a time when resources are shrinking and caseloads are growing.”

– Article from Stop the Drug War.



  1. Anonymous on

    What are the time limits ? What is the thinking re Arnold’s likelihood to sign?

  2. Anonymous on


    Cities that provide permits for Cannabis Clubs do indeed get tax money.

    I grow legal in california under present law and passage of sb1449 makes it even better. Why would I want prop 19 to limit my grow area and tax that area thats now free of police and TAX.

    So if I vote yes on 19 I can look foreward to paying city entities big money for the right thats free now…..DUh!

    Marijuana is about to go thru the roof in price….Montel Williams is salivating on his next info rip-off as he moves in on the Oakland permits @$400,000 each! He has to sell HIGH to make profit after all the taxes Oakland will gleen……you dumbass!



    FUCK PROP 19…..police PROP!

  3. lakua on

    Localities can already tax medical cannabis. If it’s legal it will be taxed for purchase (just like most other things you buy in a store), but the vast majority of localities won’t have taxes on growing it yourself.

    The tax issue is just a cover for something else. You must be making a lot of money off of the black market and are trying to protect your profits.

    One thing Prop 19 WILL do is making cannabis DIRT CHEAP. So it will be more difficult to make money off of it. That doesn’t matter to me because…


  4. Anonymous420 on

    if you love weed enough to go vote for decriminalization then why dont you go to your doctor with about 5000$ and a story about how your back herts.a buddy of mine did it got his license and prescription for 5 grams a day!!! try it out if your in ontario…might be easier in BC.

  5. ontario420 on

    thats so good, cant wait for ontario to decriminalize pot.

  6. this stoner's voting no on

    you think it’s that simple, eh? vote yes on prop 19 and you can grow in your 5×5 space legally?

    well, how much is that gonna cost ya, buddy? ya ever heard of TAXES? prop 19 LOSES MY VOTE–because it gives cities THE POWER TO TAX CANNABIS WITHOUT LIMITATION. that’s right, unlimited taxes. even on your home-grow. even for personal use.

    it’s already starting to happen, city by city. $600 per square foot in one city. that means your 5×5 is gonna cost you $15,000 a year in taxes. can you afford that?

    it’d be cheaper to get arrested!

    VOTE NO ON 19!

  7. lakua on

    Anyone who is for legalization would be an idiot to not vote yes on Prop 19. Right now growing just one plant in California is a FELONY (if you don’t have a medical exemption). Prop 19 will allow you to grow 25 square feet legally.

    The only people against prop 19 are those who are corrupt, greedy, or ignorant.

  8. Anonymous on

    Jack Herer couldn’t have said it better WE DON’T OWE THEM THEY OWE US FOR THE WOES THAT THEY HAVE CREATED………….PERIOD…………..

  9. Anonymous on

    This seals the deal!

    With prop 215 medical marajuana law and this law SB1449 we don’t need that “POLICE ME” prop 19.

    Prop 19 invites police into your house and limits grow area which is redicioulous and STUPID. The fucker that brings forth prop 19 is not from California and his wheelchair life now wants my grow area confined to a space not even big enough for a wheelchair….the ASSHOLE!

    SB 1449 and prop 215 all we need in California till the legal fuckers give it up and legalize accross the board no penalities for any marijuana. FUCK ALL PEOPLE trying to regulate my free herbs!

  10. Paul Pot on

    This is most encouraging news but it still has to be signed in by square head. Let’s hope he does the right thing.

  11. PeyotePal on

    With the Most Wonderful and Most Honourable Stephen Harper at the helm of this Country, do not expect Canada to head down this road any time soon.

    The Canadian Gov’t is expected to bring in TRACKING LAWS for pain medications, such as morphine, etc, so they can track exactly where you get ALL of your pain meds from.

    It is rather sickening to think what Mr. Harper has done to this great Country.

  12. Dale allo on

    I pray that this spreads like a virus around the world so i can finally get growing and be free. Those seeds in the freezer aren’t going to stay viable forever.

  13. Uncle Bob on

    Arnold is on video record smoking herb and as saying Cannabis is “Just a leaf” so let’s hope he does the right thing. He’s still a politician tho…so I won’t “hold my breath”.

  14. Anonymous on

    Wasn’t this supposed to happen here, years before it happened “down there” GET YOU HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS HARPER, AND WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!!

  15. jackattack on

    california legalization will start the domino effect and other states will follow cal and create the domino effect. free the states again and stop the war on citizens. let the bill of rights regain its footing from the failed war on drugs. legalize cannabis for recreational as well as medical use.

  16. Anonymous on

    Who would not want to come and visit California, with such tolerant and visionary legislation being implemented, let’s just hope the terminator will sign, and not be so hard core, California must take the lead and start to regulate the biggest cash crop in the state, estimated at about 14 billion dollars, we could use some of that money. November is a great time to visit California with the mild sunny weather and the emerald triangle, Frisco, Yosemite National park, and if you want to go for a swim in a warm water lake I strongly suggest Bass Lake, California tourism has never been more appealing.

  17. greenpower3000 on

    Good news, and example that all the states should follow.

  18. Tom Bom on

    Hip hip, hooray!

  19. Dave on

    Not from there, at least now we can see, from under the door, their lights are on! Hopefully, soon they’ll open the door wide enough to invite us in so we can be full participants in our communities, cool!

  20. Worm on

    I feel like i am living in the states and reading articles from Canada. Pay attention Harper.


  21. Cody M. on

    This is some of the best news I’ve heard all year. I don’t live in Cali, but it still means good things.