In 2016, Proposition 64, or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, legalized the nonmedical cultivation and possession of cannabis for adults (21+). While it eliminated several marijuana-related crimes, it didn’t deliver a method of expunging or reducing past criminal convictions. In the last two years, state lawmakers have viewed the positive shift in public opinion about marijuana use as an opportunity to enact social justice.
While marijuana possession is legal now, many people in the past have been convicted of misdemeanor and felony drug offenses that continue to mar their criminal records today. This is particularly true for individuals of color from low-income communities who faced extreme prejudice under the government’s war on drugs. A criminal record can prevent both adults and minors from applying to schools, purchasing and renting property, or requesting loans.
To solve this problem, California lawmakers have approved AB 1793, a bill that could reduce or eliminate past marijuana-related convictions. Per the bill, the Department of Justice is required to review any relevant cases that took place between 1975 and 2016. According to the Department of Justice, there are 220,000 cases that may be eligible for reduction or expungement. The Department of Justice has until July 1, 2019 to assemble a list of eligible cases and send them to the appropriate district attorney. Then, prosecutors have until July 1, 2020 to challenge the results of this investigation.
Currently, the bill still requires Governor Jerry Brown’s signature before it can be officially implemented. If this bill is approved, it may improve the lives of many California citizens who have been limited by their past convictions.
If you require legal representation for a past or current drug offense, contact The Law Offices of Paul S. Geller. Our Pasadena criminal defense attorney is a skilled and experienced litigator who can effectively defend you in court and help you navigate the expungement process.
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