San Francisco’s own state Senator Mark Leno introduced a bill that would reclassify marijuana possession of under one ounce as an infraction, payable like a parking ticket. And today — yes, today — that bill took a step towards becoming law after it passed the state legislature’s Public Safety Committee, Leno’s office announced this afternoon.
In a phone call placed to the Sacramento Bee at 4:20 p.m. (on April 19), Leno said “misdemeanor arrests are clogging California courts for something that should be dismissed quicker than a parking ticket.” To wit: 61,388 Californians were arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in 2008, all cases which required involvement of the court system in some way.
Does the state legislature have a sense of humor in scheduling the bill’s first hearing for today? Surely public safety committee chairman Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, didn’t have anything to do with the timing? Calls this afternoon to Leno’s press office this afternoon weren’t immediately returned.