(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.
I can't say I support Schwarzenegger, but thats California's decision. New Zealand won't be following suit any time soon. Smoking dope is still illegal here and dope smokers will cop it if they persist in smoking or are in possession of marijuana in public. I have absolutely no sympathy for them. We are battling cigarette smoking in NZ and going soft on dope and dope smokers will not help our society at all. Smoking in bars, restaurants and other places has been illegal for a number of years, as has smoking at work and in public buildings.
A zero tolerance for all types of smoking should be taken. Opposition groups have made no inroads here, despite having a left of centre government for nine years. They will not overcome!