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New law reduces marijuana penalty

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Under a new law that took effect Jan. 1, the penalty for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana has been reduced from a misdemeanor to an infraction. The law, introduced by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, states that those found in possession of less than 28.5 grams will be given a $100 maximum fine, which is less than some traffic tickets.

According to Bill Larson, a spokesman for the Stanford Department of Public Safety, the department does not have a specific policy regarding marijuana possession and will enforce the new law. Larson said he did not anticipate much change to the number of citations issued for marijuana possession.

The reduction is intended to save the state’s judicial system millions of dollars by sparing many of the more than 60,000 people arrested each year for marijuana-related misdemeanors from appearing in court.

This new law is the first time the California legislature has voluntarily reduced penalties for marijuana or any drug offense since 1975, according to NORML, a group supporting marijuana legalization.

Ivy Nguyen