When California became the sixth state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, through the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, the voters of California also assented to the elimination of various cannabis-related crimes. Nevertheless, a question that frequently arose concerned what to do with those who had cannabis-related crimes on their record as a result of its previous illegality. In the voter-approved version, Proposition 64 was intended to be applied retroactively. Thus, Proposition 64 seemed to allow for an individual to petition to have a previous conviction dismissed, and retaining the services of an attorney experienced in narcotic-related crimes can be crucial to a successful dismissal. Unfortunately, Proposition 64 did not provide a specific mechanism or guidance on exactly how those eligible could erase their convictions or have felonies reduced to misdemeanors. However, recently, the California Legislature approved a bill requiring prosecutors to expunge convictions or reduce sentences for many cannabis-related convictions. A brief discussion of Proposition 64, as well as the new bill awaiting Governor Brown’s signature, will follow below.
AB 1793 is intended to supplement Proposition 64, also known as The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which was passed by California voters in the 2016 November election. Generally speaking, Proposition 64 legalizes the use of cannabis for recreational – that is, not merely medical – use for adults 21 years of age and over, by allowing them to possess, process, transport, purchase, obtain, or give away up to 28.5 grams of cannabis and up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. Additionally, Proposition 64 authorized an individual to petition for either the recall or dismissal of a sentence, the dismissal and sealing of a conviction, or the reduction of a conviction to a lesser or no offense. But, as mentioned above, other than this allowance, Proposition 64 did not provide a specific means by which an individual could, in fact, expunge his/her previous cannabis-related infraction.
If signed into law in its current form, AB 1793 would require the California Department of Justice to review the records in the California criminal history information database in an effort to identify all past cannabis-related convictions potentially eligible for a revision of a past cannabis-related conviction. Once these cases have been identified, AB 1793 would then require the Department to notify prosecutors of all eligible cases. Prosecutors would have the chance, upon review, to challenge the eligibility of a particular case, depending on whether the convicted individual, in fact, meets all of the requirements or whether he/she nevertheless presents an unreasonable risk to public safety. If a challenge is made, then a court hearing would be held to decide the issue. If no challenge is made, the bill would require the appropriate court to automatically reduce or dismiss the conviction, as well as make the appropriate modification to the California criminal history information database. Thus, rather than the current situation, if AB 1793 is signed by the Governor, the bill would put the burden to clear up any previous cannabis-related convictions on the state, and off the shoulders of convicted offenders who may not understand the rules or fully realize what is at stake.
Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney
If you, or a loved one, had been previously convicted for a cannabis-related crime, and are curious whether you are eligible for expungement, please contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Manshoory Law Group, APC as soon as possible. Until this law passes, a petition must be filed to have your record expunged. The lawyers at Manshoory Law Group, APC will use their knowledge of criminal law, to devise an effective strategy and present the best case to expunge your record. Attorneys are available 24/7 to take your call. Contact us today for an initial consultation.