Despite California's Lax Stance on Cannabis, Arrests Are Still Up

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Despite California's Lax Stance On Cannabis, Arrests Are Still Up

Even being a lifelong resident of California (sans a few misplaced years spent as a ski bum in Utah and Colorado), I was always under the impression that police in California for the past few years at least pretty much don't care about marijuana possession or use. The worst-case scenario would be a small fine, community service, and possibly a court date where the judge would admonish the weed perpetrator, but they would soon be summarily let go with a slap on the wrist, and that would be that...

Well, the California attorney general's office has released its 2013 crime report, and surprisingly there are still many in California who racked up marijuana-related charges—over 20,000 marijuana-related arrests total. According to the report, there were 13,779 felony marijuana arrests in California, up slightly from the previous year. 2013 marijuana misdemeanor arrests in California came in at just over 6,500. Now these are down almost 1,000 misdemeanor arrests from the previous year, and it should be noted that most of the misdemeanor arrests were by juveniles.

Certain cities are like bastions of freedom for pot users—Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco come immediately to mind. Trust me, in those cities one can blaze just about anywhere without fear of reprisal. It is the ’burbs that you have to look out for. Always be on guard in other smaller municipalities for local police or sheriffs with nothing else to do. I myself will now begin to use a bit more discretion as things don't look to be getting better anytime soon and I've already given enough in fines to this city. Attorney General Kamala Harris in a recent interview said, "California should wait to see how Colorado and Washington deal with such complex issues as open air use that can lead to contact highs among innocent bystanders, who have no intention of inhaling the herb."

I am personally tired of giving this city money for fines and parking, but I digress. In a side note, Harris is up for re-election against Ron Gould, a republican who is in favor of marijuana. I know who I am going to choose.