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Perceptions and reality: California pot possession law

Our California readers certainly know that there is an operative disconnect between what truly qualifies as reality in the state and what is often perceived by many non-Californians to be true.

In California, for example, picture-hungry paparrazi are not stalking camera-shy celebrities on every street corner. And although the state is often and almost automatically designated by political pundits as “blue” for its alleged liberal tendencies, there are many strong pockets of conservatism in the state.

Any person who has lived both inside and outside California can easily enough compile a list bifurcated by divisions marked “what many people think is true” and “what is really the case,” with many entrants clamoring for inclusion.

Like drug laws, for instance. In the minds of many people across the country, California has long been known as a liberal bastion of accommodative drug-related enactments.

Uh, actually that turns out to be Colorado and Washington states, with successive attempts inside California to legalize marijuana for recreational use being unsuccessful, in contrast to the results of voter initiatives in those two states.

So, there is Haight-Ashbury, the so-called “summer of love,” Janis Joplin and all that stuff to harken back on, and then there is this reality: Marijuana possession of more than a stated moderate amount was illegal then, and it continues to be illegal now.

In fact, jail time can result for casual marijuana smokers, with certain pot-related offenses being deemed as felonies.

That is serious, underscoring the need for any person arrested on a marijuana or other drug charge to secure the prompt and aggressive assistance of a knowledgeable drug defense attorney.

As a final note to this post, the LA Weekly reported recently that all of the state’s pot legalization initiatives are down for the count this year, with none garnering the required number of signatures to be placed on this November’s ballot.

The paper expects a strong and sustained effort in 2016, a presidential election year in which high voter turnout might result in enough pro-legalization votes to usher in new law in the state.

Source: LA Weekly, "Marijuana legalization proponents throw in the towel for 2014," Dennis Romero, April 7, 2014

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