It has been two years since California voters approved Proposition 64, making recreational cannabis legal throughout the state. Furthermore, the law also eliminated several marijuana-related offenses and applied retroactively.
However, there is no guidelines—nor a system—for those who have been convicted of pot-related crimes to have their criminal records expunged. Fortunately, a bill passed late last month by the Assembly and the Senate offers such a framework.
Known as AB 1793, the bill would give the California Department of Justice (DOJ) until July 1, 2019, to review criminal records in order to identify old cannabis convictions and notify the prosecution of all eligible cases. The prosecution would then have until one year later to challenge these cases if the individual presents an unreasonable danger to the safety of the public.
Individuals convicted of misdemeanor cannabis crimes are eligible for expungement. On the other hand, those with past, non-violent felony convictions can have them downgraded to misdemeanors.
According to the DOJ, there are more than 200,000 cases that are eligible for elimination or reduction. The bill offers a simpler way for Californians can put their criminal past behind them once and for all.