Earth shattering

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill making simple marijuana possession an infraction with a $100 fine and no criminal penalties.

“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,” wrote Schwarzenegger, who opposes Proposition 19, the marijuana initiative.

Outstanding. And despite the Governator’s views on Prop 19, this signature provides great momentum for going into the voting booth one month from now and finishing the job.

With the new bill, you take away the jail time for possession — the next thing to do is take the control of marijuana away from the black market with all of its destructive elements.

Sure, a spokesperson for No on 19 says “takes away the last reason anyone would have to vote for Prop 19,” which is, of course, ridiculous, but what else is he going to say?

For those idiots who think that this bill is all we need, try giving a call to some friends in New York City. Simple possession is also just a fine there, yet New York City still manages to arrest a whole lot of people for marijuana, and to stop and frisk African-American men at sickening rates.

“Decrim” is not “legal.”

I’m going to go out on a limb, here, and I could be completely wrong. I don’t know all the laws around the world, but…

This could be the first real opportunity to re-legalize cannabis in the entire world. Now that’s something I want to be a part of.

After all, it’s not really legal in Amsterdam. Sure you can posses and buy it, but you can’t legally produce it. The coffee shops have to buy it on the black market.

Even with the stupid federal laws hanging over this enterprise, there will be, with Proposition 19, a legal system of some sort for honest people to produce, sell, purchase, possess, and consume cannabis for recreational purposes.

Where else is this true? (Let me know if you know of a place.)

Pretty exciting.

Is Prop 19 perfect? Of course not.

There’s a lot I’d like to see different in the law. (I imagine if I crafted the law the way I wanted it, the poll numbers would be a lot worse right now.) Down the road, there are things we’ll change. Washington State will pass their own law and it’ll be different, and we’ll look at those differences, and then Massachusetts will pass theirs, etc. Each law will be tweaked and adjusted as reality interacts with it. And drug policy reformers will have to be there to push for the right changes.

In one month, Californians will have an opportunity to vote. With whom will they side?

  • California Police Chiefs
  • Bishop Ron Allen
  • California District Attorneys Association
  • Drug Free America Foundation and D.A.R.E. America and Save Our Society From Drugs
  • M.A.D.D. and C.A.L.M.
  • Jerry Brown, Diane Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer
  • Beer distributors
  • People who sell marijuana at great profit because it’s illegal
  • Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
  • Alice Huffman and California NAACP
  • National Black Police Association
  • Drug Policy Reform organizations
  • FireDogLake and Just Say Now
  • Former governor Gary Johnson
  • Unions
  • People who want to end the destruction of prohibition.

Seems that the choice is pretty clear. Time to start changing the world.

By the way, for those looking for an opportunity to get active… Just Say Now’s Online Phone Banking for Marijuana Reform.

Just Say Now is proud to announce a new tool to put marijuana reform directly in the hands of activists: online phone banking to identify supporters of marijuana reform before November’s election. There are thousands of voters in Arizona, California, Oregon, and South Dakota who we need to vote for marijuana reforms. We’re targeting calls to young voters and “surge voters” – people who turned out in 2008 but who are not yet likely to vote in the midterm elections.

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34 Responses to Earth shattering

  1. claygooding says:

    Speaking of FDL,Jane had a good article in the Huffington Post:

    Soros, Lewis and Other Big Donors Abandon Democrats for Progressives and Weed

    I have high hopes Soros and/or Lewis jump in soon to provide some needed cash for some television ads during the last few weeks,not that we need them but it could help tremendously.

  2. yumita yumara says:

    Legalize it!

  3. kaptinemo says:

    Now we know they’re on the run; it’s time to cut their rearguard to pieces. No ‘bridge of silver for a fleeing enemy’; it’s time for the coup de gras.

    They’ve never shown us any mercy. So, as my 2-tour Green Beret VN War veteran instructors used to say, “What comes around, goes around.”, and this time, it’s the opposition’s turn to feel what they’ve given us for so long.

    Oh, of course they won’t get the full treatment, for that means blood and death. Nope, they’ll just get the biggest rebuke of their lives, and a repudiation of their life’s-work that will taste like ashes everywhere they go and smell the sweet, autumnal fragrance of freedom.

    But…we must not rest on our laurels, as my generation did, and later got blind-sided by the control-freak parent’s movement and the culture warriors. We thought we had only to sit back and let it happen…and what did happen instead was the nightmare of the past 30 years.

    No. No letup. No breather for the opposition. As my Irish Mum used to say, “Make no rest for the wicked!” The dangerous animal has been injured…but not fatally. Not yet. It’s still dangerous and may still rally. More swords are needed for this monster to be brought down. Only when it gives its’ last death rattle and its’ claws can never harm another soul again can we let up. Only then.

    Yes on 19! And sic semper tyrannis!

  4. Just me. says:

    This has been about freedom from the start. Getting our government and prohibitions tenticles out of the lives of people around the world is big start at being a PEACEFUL nieghbor. We have no right impossing our standards on the rest of the world. Its no wonder there are people out there trying to destroy us. Freedom of choice for the world without “Empires” meddling.

    Maybe this prop passing will give big brother a huge smack in the face.

  5. Common Science says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that most people do not realize that decriminalisation is only a 40 year old means to try to get cannabis users back on par with drinkers during alcohol prohibition. Decriminalisation = prohibition. No one was being arrested for growing hops or grapes in their backyard in 1920. Neither was a badged pubic servant hired to root out individuals with a handful of alcoholic beverages in their household. The aim was to wipe out alcohol distribution, the targets were as plain black and white.

    The present prohibition comes in a thousand shades of gray. Here’s hoping that the Governator’s desperate ruse doesn’t slow down the aim of Prop 19.

  6. malcolmkyle says:

    Pete, your opinion on the situation here in the Netherlands is quite accurate; the Dutch ‘Blind Eye’ policy does not allow for legal supplying of the ‘Koffie Shops’

  7. ezrydn says:


    One thing I’ve been doing is going to selected websites and setting up “word ambushes.” I like to mix a little bit of covert NLP into it sometimes. When they “trigger” it, they get hit with a bundle of facts they probably weren’t expecting. It’s not for their sakes, but for the continuing readers of those sites.

    One of my favorite ambushees is Activist1 over at the Bee. However, she’s just too damned easy.

    Most people think when an ambush is triggered, everyone takes cover. WRONG. You know what your SF Instructors taught you. You charge and advance against an ambush, not hunker down. The Prohibitionists always hunker down, don’t they?!!

    Much of what we learned from those who went before us can aptly be applied in this environment. We’re already adept at search and destroy. We do that everytime we find a Prohib. One ambush I sat up I used three OPs to watch it. This is something I understand!

    I doubt we’ll ever see the white flag. But they’ll be beat so low we won’t have to worry about them any longer. Let the public see how they function in an ambush and what they say. That’s my goal.

  8. For years there have been small victories in returning sanity to marijuana laws. Each small victory lead to the next small victory much as falling dominos. Prop 19 represents the really “big” domino. If we can push this one over other big dominos in state after state will fall as well. We just need to push Prop 19 to fall towards the side rational sane marijuana laws. If we can do that we can expect more and bigger changes nationwide and eventually worldwide.

    Let’s get on the phones and help push on this domino.

    Overcoming years of propaganda aimed at producing fear and prejudice isn’t easy. Go to Just Say Now and start phoning. Show the prohibitionists that they can’t stop us now. We can make this a better nation.

  9. daksya says:

    Where else is this true? (Let me know if you know of a place.)

    In the state of Rajasthan in India, there are government-licensed bhang shops. Really.

  10. Chris says:

    Just got a Philly Inquirer today and there are 2 editorials (basically) in favor of legalization and one against-written by Edwin Meese of course. Man that guy is annoying.

  11. Cliff says:

    “You charge and advance against an ambush, not hunker down. The Prohibitionists always hunker down, don’t they?!!”

    We have an ‘L’ shaped ambush set up and they are right in the kill zone. They’re going to have to cut and run or be cut down. No quarter, no mercy. Too bad so sad.

  12. Ned says:

    I wish it was possible to get all the folks not directly involved or with real first hand cannabis knowledge to understand that moderated prohibition is in some respects something they should see as even worse than full prohibition. If you care about “controlling” something, the most counter productive dynamic you can create is one where use is tolerated but production and distribution remain forbidden. So demand increases, black market incentives increase, which attracts more black marketeers, who continue to make prohibition driven profit margins. The result is an expanded and reduced risk black market supplying all those tolerated users. Why do they think that’s a good situation? Real regulation and control requires full legalization. The optimum most effective policy all around is to have it legal like beer and wine.

  13. malcolmkyle says:

    Who thinks that’s a good situation?

    Somebody please torch that Strawman!

  14. Negation says:

    I’m hoping that someone here with a bit of legal knowledge will be able to help me out.

    If (and when) Prop. 19 passes, how will it and SB 1449 interact? Will any of the criminal penalties described in Prop. 19 be effectively lowered to SB 1449 levels (infractions instead of misdemeanors, basically), or will they remain as described in Prop. 19?

    I’m afraid I don’t remember where I read it, but someone said that once Prop. 19 becomes law, it will actually be less restrictive because the penalties in SB 1449 are so light. However, wouldn’t Prop. 19’s civil/criminal penalties become the standard simply because it became law after SB 1449? I’m no lawyer, so maybe someone can validate or refute what I read.

  15. Ned says:

    “Who thinks that’s a good situation?”

    Everybody who sees SB 1449 as sufficient. The ones that think this means prop 19 is no longer needed because it would go too far. Politicians across the US who come out in favor of decriminalization, as a “moderate” step. Who think legalization is “going too far” or whatever it is they say when they say decriminalization is enough.

  16. Ned says:

    Seems to me if prop 19 passes, then SB 1449, which is of very limited scope, is superseded. The oz that is now made an infraction, will become legal to possess.

  17. Richard Steeb says:

    Reducing the penalties is going in the right direction from an ethical/justice/liberty standpoint, no question. The lack of a legal supplier is the major downside, and the cartels are undoubtedly loving it. The *only* rational solution is to legalize it and put the black market out of business. What part of all that is unclear or controversial?

  18. Negation says:

    Alright, I found what I read earlier. Right on NORML’s website, no less. Of particular importance is:

    The new law, which takes effect on Jan 1, 2011, will have an effect even if Californians vote to legalize marijuana by passing Prop 19. Proposition 19 leaves misdemeanor possession penalties in place for public use and smoking in the presence of children; under SB 1449, these offenses would be simple infractions.

    Now that I’ve read it again, it seems like they first say that Prop. 19 offenses will still be misdemeanors, but then they say that because of SB 1449 they’re no longer misdemeanors, but rather simple infractions. Maybe today just isn’t my day for reading comprehension, but I can’t tell if that means that public use and smoking in the presence of a minor would be a misdemeanor or an infraction, so does somebody want to clear that up for me?

  19. B-roll says:

    This could be the beginning of a snowball effect for the entire nation I’m super excited and excited for the passing of prop 19 that is just a month away

  20. darkcycle says:

    Please forgive the frenetic, all caps, top of my lungs response. I just hate it when some spaz goes all-caps crazy, but this is my turn: DECRIM IS A SHAM, A FALSE PROMISE AND AS EASY AS PIE TO REVERSE. WE’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE, OR IS IT THAT AMERICAN FIVE MINUTE MEMORY THING?

    Look people, go back to 1979 and look at what they did to us then! We had decrim, damn near every state and those that didn’t were following suit, seemingly everyday. Pot was legal or as good as (to listen to some) and the birdies were singing, we were raosting marshmallows and ourselves. Everybody relaxed and it looked good all the way to legalization, not that we were working that hard for it after decrim, you see. Then Reagan came in, and with the stroke of a pen took it all away overnight. He tied States federal highway funds to their Marijuana policies and threatened to take away all the fed money from States with decrim. Listen to Pete Townshend… don’t get fooled again. This bill was concieved, drafted and timed to take away the steam form 19. WE MUST VOTE FOR 19, DECRIM IS A FALSE HOPE, THEY WILL FUCK US AGAIN. PLEASE! Don’t let them get away with the same goddamn trick twice!!!

  21. darkcycle says:

    History is the best teacher, but you gotta godamnit KNOW the history!

  22. darkcycle says:

    Ezrydn: this IS war and we’re in a dangerous position, this is an ambush placed in OUR trail, right before the objective. To sieze the objective we need to negotiate this ambush w/o losing so many troops that prop 19 fails. This ain’t victory yet, man! look at all the bodies piling up!

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  24. David Marsh says:


    Ah, 1979…. Jimmy Carter and 13%+ home interest, Personal computer just invented, Iran revolution and hostages taken, Punk Rock, The “Police” at the Rainbow room in Denver WOW…..Three Mile Island, Democrats controlled the house 277 – 158 and the Senate 68- 42, Tip O’Neill was Speaker of the House and Robert Byrd was Senate Majority Leader.

    What we did not have is the internet….

    Your point is well taken, YES “WE MUST VOTE FOR 19”! And yes “DECRIM IS A FALSE HOPE” not for us, “FOR THEM”! They are reacting to us now. They (government) are the ones who are afraid, and they should be!

    There is a new paradigm in politics. Thou shalt not piss off the public. The “Tea Party” is a public ambush by the establishment on the establishment. Conservatives and liberals have the same enemy now, an unresponsive government that is, and has been, asleep at the wheel.

    I am a lifelong Republican and retired insurance executive who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I believe in socialized medicine not only for humanitarian reasons but for fiscal necessity. I believe in legalized abortion, Gay marriage, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, Legalization of drugs, low taxes, telling the truth, helping your neighbor, charging a fair price, and minding my own fucking bushiness unless someone fucks with me. I am tire of the bullshit holier-than-thou attitude of both conservatives and liberals. If being a republican makes me the enemy to some of you here then have the fuck at it.

    We got work to do. Politics makes strange bed fellows we are 10%, we need more. We all have to swallow our pride and make friends with those of differing opinions. This is a war on fear. Not on each other. If we all learn to play nice again most of our country’s problems will go away.

    Thanks Pete!

    Anyone for a bowl?.. Whew..

  25. ezrydn says:


    There will always be a “last casuality” before any conflict ends, even ours. And, yes, I would be an idiot NOT to think that ambushes are out there for us, also. I’m sure Cliff follows my drift. Some ambushes are no-shows and you have to pack up and move to another location. And, honestly, I doubt that there’s more than a handfull of us who approach this in a military tactical manner. Mainly, it’s really all we know and we’ve proven we’re good at it.

    I could see holding a Cannabis Combat Workshop to enlighten the “civies” how it’s done but we can’t do very much with 4 weeks to go.

    Things like putting on your LEAP shirt with a windbreaker over it. That gets you “inside the wire.” Then, drop the jacket and let the locals see the message, ready to engage at a moment’s notice.

    I’ll be headed up to the Fresno area this week to hook up with Howard, Misty and my VN Company Reunion. You just gotta know I’ll transit Immigration/Customs wearing the LEAP shirt. Love the action it generates and have a 3 hour layover to “conduct business.” LOL Yeah, I’m a glutton for punishment. LMAO This is my way of breaching the bunker line. And ya gotta have a pair to do it, too.

    We combat vets share with you what and how we do, without expectation of you actually doing the same. It’s rather just to give you some ideas. Like, go to a website that says there’s “no medical usage.” Download Granny Crow’s list and put it on one of your sites so you can put a link for a direct download. And mask the URL. I call that my “toe-popper.” (Still with me, Cliff?) Or, you could trip-wire a claymore by masking a direct URL back here to Pete’s site. I’ve done that several times.

    We all have our own methods which we feel comfortable using. And I agree that that usage must be compounded over the next 4 weeks.

    California was the FIRST with Medical Cannabis. Look what happened and is still happening. It’s obvious that “as goes California, so goes the nation.” California is Objective Alpha! All firebases are registered. H&I fires are now deployed. The ships are sitting at flight idle and the fast movers are on station.

    LOAD UP!

  26. darkcycle says:

    I’ll say it again: It easy to add penalties to something that is already illegal. It is quite another thing altogether to take something that is legal (and in this instance made that way by public initiative), and make it illegal.
    This is a bald-faced ploy to steal the momentum from prop 19. The initiative was already collecting signatures when this bill was concieved. The bill was carefully timed to be signed now, only a month before the vote on 19. Decrim can be reversed virtually overnight and gives no gaurantees. It’s a sop, a dishonest attempt at appeasing us so we’ll be nice, go away without 19, and be helpfully disorganized when they tighten the screws back down. Again.

    • Pete says:

      @darkcycle – You may be right that this is an attempt to derail Prop19, but I don’t think it’ll work. I’m already seeing statements like these:

      “It’s a strong bellwether for how I think Proposition (19) will do in November,” Reichel said. […]

      But Reichel, who represents drug offenders on a regular basis in court, believes that state lawmakers and the governor have sent a message by passing SB 1449. That message: Prop. 19 is looking strong on the ballot in November.

      “(The governor) may be personally opposed to it, but it makes their (the supporters of Prop. 19) argument a lot stronger by the fact that he signed such a bill as this,” McLear said. “That makes the proposition look imminently more reasonable, and not so outlandish.”

      “It really is a very strong statement in favor of this proposition on the November ballot,” said McLear.

      Yep. I think that’s how it’s going to play to a large degree.

  27. darkcycle says:

    I sure hope so, but experience is the best teacher and I still have raw spots from the beating we took under Reagan. I don’t like this one little bit….

  28. Common Science says:

    My fear is that a substantial drop in approval for Prop 19 comes not from the fans of the herb, but the hard-earned allies who will show approval to a politician who appears to show flexibility. We have marginal numbers that could be appeased by the Governator that have less at stake, that are going to reconsider ‘going too far’ with the unknown consequences of legalization.

    Arnold’s council is not appeasing us here.

  29. Duncan20903 says:

    I do agree with Ned’s submission above that SB1449 was the prohibitionist’s trump card. Another group it will make much easier to say no is is the cohort I’ve taken to call Know nothing potheads to distinguish them from the know nothing prohibitionists

    Hey ezrydn, California also passed the first state cannabis prohibition law in 1913. The said it would get rid of the Mexicans. How’s that plan working out? One thing that confuses me because of how the prohibitionists never make it to the goals they themselves set, but it doesn’t matter, they take credit for it as if it had worked. More maddening is that the majority of the people are living the same bizarro reality give them credit as if they had accomplished what they claimed. Prohibitionists seem to care only if their intentions are ‘good’ not if they get the ending they desired.

    How can the people that live in a state with cities and places named San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Rosa, Santa Maria, San Jose, Los Gatos, Santa Cruz,etc etc etc and be surprised to find Hispanic folks live there.

    So hysterical rhetoric and immigrant hating isn’t anything new.

  30. ezrydn says:

    I’ve been asking a question here, where I live, of older, opinionated adults. The question is “When California passes Prop 19, what do you expect Calderon and/or the Congresso to do?” They think Mexico will fall in line with California.

    I’ve probably asked 50 different people this question and the overwhelming majority seem to take the LEAP position. I only had 4 display a Prohibitionist attitude.

    This is just an FYI from SOTB.

  31. davidst says:

    History is an important teacher, however this isn’t 1979. It’s 2010 and the Internet should prevent similar sorts of things from happening.

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