New study shows Californians favor Legalization of Marijuana

A study done by the Public Policy Institute of California, a non-partisan and non-profit think tank, shows that 53% of California residents believe it should be legal. The study states:

“Slim majorities supported legalization in October 2014 (51%) and September 2013 (52%).  Among likely voters, 55 percent favor legalization. About three-quarters of adults (74%) who have tried marijuana say it should be legal, while only a third (35%) who have never tried it favor legalization. Residents aged 18 to 34 (61%) are more likely than older adults to say marijuana use should be legal (47% age 35 to 54, 52% age 55 and older). Most adults
without children under 18 (59%) favor legalization.  Most parents with children (54%) are opposed. If marijuana were legal, 53 percent of adults say it would not bother them if a store or business selling it opened up in their neighborhood, while 44 percent say it would. Most parents (54%) would be bothered.”
Obviously, the trend in favor of ending prohibition on Marijuana continues to grow and grow.   One aspect of the push for legalization, one that might not be considered by habitual marijuana smokers, is the increase in enforcement of marijuana driving under the influence charges. In California, an individual can receive a DUI for driving under the influence of marijuana. The consequences for conviction of an alcohol related and marijuana related DUI are the same.   The problem with marijuana, is that it stays in your system long after the impairment affects have subsided, leaving sober citizens susceptible to an arrest and conviction for a DUI.  The technology is simply not there to determine impairment of marijuana, and many question how much being impaired by marijuana actually effects the ability to drive safely in the first place.   Studies have shown that a habitual marijuana smoker will always be potentially susceptible to a DUI no matter whether they are impaired or not.   For those that smoke marijuana on a regular basis, legalizing marijuana might be a situation where you have to be careful what you wish for.
This article was contributed by DUI Lawyer Michael Rehm

California Supreme Court Rules Against “Jessica’s Law”

According to multiple news sources, including Reuters, the California Supreme Court has ruled that certain aspects of Jessica’s Law, or at least the way it was enforced in San Diego County, is unconstitutional. Jessica’s Law makes it illegal for registered sex offenders to live within Two Thousand feet from any school or park regularly used by children.  It was passed in California by proposition in 2006. 4 plaintiffs from San Diego filed sued arguing that these restrictions infringed on their liberty and primacy interests.

The court was concerned with San Diego’s “blanket enforcement” of the law, stating:

“Blanket enforcement of residency restrictions against these parolees has … infringed on their liberty and privacy interests, however limited, while bearing no rational relationship to advancing the state’s legitimate goal of protecting children from sexual predators.”

 

No indication from news sources as to what type of enforcement the Court was comfortable with, but this ruling will obviously open up similar legal challenges throughout California.  To be clear though, the California Supreme Court did not find the “Jessica’s Law” measure in and of itself unconstitutional, simply San Diego’s blanket enforcement of the law. If enforcement of the law is unconstitutional, how is the law constitutional in the first place? That is a question the courts will undoubtedly have to deal with at some point in time, but for now they have merely punted the ball and ruled that San Diego County has to change the way they enforce a law.