California bill would automatically erase prior marijuana convictions

California bill would automatically erase prior marijuana convictions

Published on 1/9/18

After having legalized medical marijuana and now recreational marijuana, California legislators have proposed a bill that would erase past marijuana convictions. When Californians passed Proposition 64 legalizing recreational cannabis, part of the law included expunging and reducing some marijuana crimes down from felonies to misdemeanors, but the law makes it so offenders must go through the costly and complicated process by themselves. Many people who could benefit from this law, around 100,000 people, have no idea they can even do it. The newly proposed bill would automatically wipe away eligible marijuana crimes, often effecting young minorities the most. Another bill gaining traction this year would would stop state and local law enforcement from helping any federal efforts to prosecute any state legal cannabis businesses, a move which would protect innocent citizens after Session's recent lifting of marijuana business protections. 

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require county courts to automatically expunge eligible records. It’s one of several efforts to build on the choice California voters’ made to legalize marijuana despite fresh threats from the federal government.

The bill would “give folks who deserve it under the law the fresh start they’re entitled to,” Bonta said, adding that pot convictions have disproportionality affected young minorities.

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