At the height of recent anti-reefer madness, law enforcement slapped 7,440 people in Orange County, California with marijuana-related misdemeanor arrests.
That was in 2009. A mere five years later – thanks to a 2010 law that made possession of up to one ounce of marijuana a civil infraction, akin to rolling through a stop sign – pot-related misdemeanors had plunged a stunning 93 percent, to just 548.
The story was much the same throughout California, with marijuana misdemeanors down 90 percent between 2008 and 2014.
As pot legalization initiatives proceed toward California’s November ballot and rhetoric gets hotter, the numbers belie any argument that legalizing marijuana will clear out California’s jails. They’re pretty clear of pot-related offenses already.
“Marijuana possession has fallen from a felony to a misdemeanor to an infraction,” said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. “It’s essentially decriminalized already in California.” [Read more at The Orange County Register]
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