California Decriminalizes Minor Marijuana Possession: SB 1449
Schwarzenegger Makes California Marijuana Possession an Infraction: Senate Bill 1449
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1449 into law, which effectively decriminalizes minor marijuana possession. If you're caught with less than one ounce of marijuana, your offense will be treated as an infraction (like a parking ticket) rather than a misdemeanor (which requires a court appearance). As an infraction, a simple pot bust will be punishable by a $100 fine.
Schwarzenegger Supports SB 1449, Not Prop 19
Schwarzenegger is opposed to the legalization of marijuana in general, and opposes Prop 19, which will appear on the November ballot. The Governator supported Senate Bill 1449 for budgetary reasons. Note that possession of more than one ounce of marijuana, or any amount of "concentrated cannabis: (i.e. hashish), will still be treated as a real crime.
In his Senate Bill 1449 signing statement (pdf), Schwarzenegger wrote, "In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket. As noted by the Judicial Council in its support of this measure, the appointment of counsel and the availability of a jury trial should be reserved for defendants who are facing loss of life, liberty, or property greater than $100."
According to NORML, there were 61,164 misdemeanor arrests for simple marijuana in 2009 alone, so SB 1449 should free up some desperately-needed state cash. According to priceofweed.com (yes, there's really such a site), average-quality cannabis costs roughly $275 per ounce.