California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill Friday morning that decriminalizes possession of marijuana in the state.
Those caught with less than an ounce of marijuana will still receive a maximum penalty of $100. However, Senate Bill 1449 reduces the legal categorization of marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction. This means that those caught will not have to appear in court, pay court fees or receive a criminal record.
Schwarzenegger is meanwhile opposed to Prop 19—which would legalize marijuana—on this year's ballot. But that's okay. Prop 19 is looking more and more like it could actually pass. The latest poll, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, shows it 11 points ahead, leading 52-41 percent. That fits with the trends that shows Prop 19 gaining ground for the last month.