Pot Possession Fines Increasing?
Just in from the Marijuana Policy Project: S.B. 797 will be heading to the state assembly within the next couple days. S.B. 797 will downgrade simple possession of no more than 28.5 grams of marijuana to an infraction, as opposed to a misdemeanor as it currently is. This would seem to be a good thing.
The downside is they're going to increase the fine for the second offense to $250 from the current $100. It's unclear whether the fine will change for the first offense. This also means, since it will be an infraction, defendants are no longer entitled to a jury trial.
They can't just drop it, can they? Rather than just dropping the offense to an infraction, they have to raise the fines, as well. The MPP release says prosecutors support the bill because it makes it easier to convict and raises the fine. That's a fine kettle of fish to have to live with.
Around 25 years ago a friend, now retired from the Casa Grande, AZ Police Department, told me, "The only reason drugs aren't legal is because they haven't found a way to tax them yet.".
Looks like they're working on it now.