Monday, October 18, 2010

SB 1449 no reason to oppose Prop. 19

A few people -- notably OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and former state senator Dick Ackerman -- have actually made the case that SB1449, which makes marijuana possession of up to an ounce an infraction (formerly a misdemeanor) punishable by a $100 fine and no jail time or criminal record -- obviates any need for Prop. 19, which would make adult possession of up to an ounce simply a non-crime. It's amusing to see strict prohibitionists who opposed even the slight reform embodied in SB 1449, have the arrogance to tell people who question prohibition what their true political interests are, but sometimes the arrogance is so ingrained that people aren't even aware of it in themselves. This Register editorial explains why Prop. 19 is still important to those who believe prohibition has more costs than benefits. Some advocates are even afraid that under 1449 there will be more hassling of people with marijuana. Infractions don't have to be recorded or reported, and a boatload of $100 fines could easily be seen as a way for "cash-strapped" (but don't they always say they are?) local governments to raise money under the radar.