At the age of 20, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the youngest man to ever win Mr. Universe and went on to win the title a further three times, and win the Mr. Olympia title seven times. He then set his eyes on Hollywood and despite his mountainous size and thick Austrian accent, he was able to quickly rise up the ranks, becoming the most successful and popular actor of the 1990s. From there he changed lanes and became the Governor of California in 2003. Due to his popularity while in office, he managed to win re-election by a landslide and did much for the state of California that he will be remembered for, his hand in decriminalizing medical marijuana being one such thing. In this article, we will be discussing how and why Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the Governor of California, decriminalised the use of marijuana.
California has always been a forward-thinking state, being the first to establish a medical marijuana program – Proposition 215 in 1996 and Senate Bill 420 in 2003. This allows people the right to obtain and use marijuana for any illness provided they can get a recommendation from a doctor. The Californian Supreme Court deemed there ought to be no cap on the quantity of the plant a patient may possess in their private residence as long as it is strictly for personal use. In order to make the purchase medical marijuana a smooth process, a patient must have a medical marijuana identification card. These are issued by the California Department of Public Health’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMP). Many cannabis dispensaries accept doctor recommendations, but if you get your 420 card online, it will be quicker, easier and cheaper.
It is important to make a distinction between decriminalization and medicalization of marijuana. Decriminalization of marijuana – the treatment of possession of small amounts of the drug as a civil, rather than a criminal, offense – began in July 1975 with the Moscone Act. This made possession of one ounce of marijuana a misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine, and more severe punishments for amounts exceeding that.
So in this case, decriminalization began much sooner than medicalization, however, the medicalization of the drug also progressed at a much more rapid pace. Arnold Schwarzenegger certainly played a role in speeding up the process of marijuana from a criminalized to a decriminalized drug. Firstly he never shied away from telling people that he smoked cannabis throughout the 1970s. As an ambassador for strength, health, hard work, and success who smoked often, he was shining proof that marijuana was not worthy of its negative reputation and repercussions. This did much for the drug’s public standing and would inevitably contribute to the decriminalization of marijuana.
Though it was not only in an oblique, celebrity-focused fashion that Arnold managed to affect the trajectory of marijuana in California. On September 30, 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law CA State Senate Bill 1449. This resulted in further reductions to the charge of possession of one ounce of cannabis or less, from a misdemeanor to an infraction – with no mandatory court appearance and, more importantly, no criminal record. The law became effective January 1, 2011.
And this was the nail in the coffin for those trying to hold onto the past – a place where control and punishment were rife and help and rehabilitation were sorely lacking. It was this point, California approached the legalization of marijuana at a noticeably quicker speed. By 2016 California voted for Proposition 64 legalizing the sale and distribution of cannabis for recreational use in both a dry and concentrated form. But licenses won’t be issued for cultivation and business establishment until 2018. Until that point, your best bet in purchasing marijuana is from a medical marijuana dispensary, so make sure you get your medical marijuana card online.
Now you know how and why Arnold Schwarzenegger decriminalized medical marijuana you may have a new-found respect for him. The history of medical marijuana in California is rich, diverse and definitely worth looking into further. And the knowledge of how far the state has come will certainly provide a greater sense of appreciation when you smoke, drink, or eat your legally owned medical marijuana. The next logical step is to legalize it in all states. This would have advantages far beyond the medicinal, such as dramatically increased tax revenues for the state (illegal drugs cannot be taxed), and the reduction of drug-related crime. Make sure you have your medical marijuana card so you can start to benefit from the drug’s long list of health benefits.