California’s plan to reverse old marijuana convictions

August 23, 2018

The California Legislature passed a bill Wednesday that could greatly expand the number of convictions of marijuana-related offenses that are expunged or reduced. [Cal Coast Times]

When California voters passed Proposition 64, in addition to legalizing marijuana, they also approved provisions that reduce or eliminate a variety of pot-related violations. For instance, selling marijuana without a license was previously punishable by a prison sentence of up to 4 years, but the maximum penalty for the offense was reduced to 6 months in county jail.

Additionally, Prop. 64 made the reduction and elimination of pot violations retroactive. Thus, individuals with existing felonies or misdemeanors for some marijuana offenses can now petition courts to expunge or reduce their convictions. But, relatively few individuals have been engaging in this process.

“Several local district attorneys in counties like Alameda, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Sonoma and Yolo are reducing or dismissing Prop. 64-eligible convictions without requiring individuals to initiate the process,” said Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). “However, this is only a handful of California’s 58 counties.”

Bonta authored AB 1793, which passed the state Senate Wednesday on a 28-10 vote after previously passing the Assembly. If signed into law, the bill would require the state Department of Justice to review records in the state criminal history database and identify past convictions that are potentially eligible for recall, dismissal of sentence or redesignation.

The DOJ would have until July 1, 2019 to complete the review and notify local prosecutors of all cases in their jurisdiction that are eligible for elimination or reduction of marijuana-related convictions.

By July 1, 2020, local prosecutors would have to review all of the cases and determine whether to challenge those slated for resentencing, dismissal or redesignation. Prosecutors could mount a challenge if the individual does not meet eligibility requirements or poses a risk to public safety.

In cases in which prosecutors do not mount challenges, courts would be required to reduce or dismiss convictions by July 1, 2020.

“AB 1793 will bring people closer to realizing their existing rights by creating a simpler pathway for Californians to turn the page and have certain criminal convictions for cannabis-related offenses removed from or reduced on their records,” Bonta said.

The bill now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

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I am going to say something that is purely anecdotal, but it comes from over 20 years of nursing experience. I would like to think I am pretty open minded, but I also stay up to date on medical research, nursing practice, etc so that I can provide the best care I can to my fellow man. I can honestly say that when used appropriately, marijuana is much less harmful and has much less risk of danger to the patient using it. You literally cannot overdose on marijuana. Sure, you can smoke or ingest too much and think you are going to die, but you don’t. Opioids are FAR more deadly. I cannot tell you the people I literally have given Narcan to over the years. Old ladies, hard working plumbers, teenagers. I have stood over countless bedsides, counting respirations to make sure my patient was still breathing due to these heavy duty FDA approved drugs. Did you know the DEA wants to make CBD oil a schedule 1 drug?!?

Marijuana, and those who RESPONSIBLY use it, should not be in prison. Even small time dealers should be released. It is a waste of tax dollars, a waste of space. Follow the money. There are a lot of people making money on pills, making money on incarcerating non violent marijuana users.

Ask yourselves how you want your tax money spent. 

The government is taking something away from those who oppose cannabis, they’re taking away the fear mongering that has resulted in the past, current and long term prejudice against cannabis and its users. I don’t care how much sense it makes, how unharmful it actually is, how many benefits it actually has over prescription drugs, it will always be the “Reefer Madness” drug to some. More than that though CCRN? It’s legalization has legitimized it, it has taken it out of the realm of being only used by dirty law breaking druggy “Untouchables” to the main stream where alcohol has been the only option.

For years, no generations, the government has shoved down the throats of the population the dangers of this “Schedule 1 Drug ” and now they’re saying they were wrong all along? Some won’t accept that and will always point to how taxing it is the real reason for its legalization and not some awaking to the facts by the government. Yep, taxing it at the time of purchase will add to the coffers of the government but where the real “earnings” will be seen, eventually and only by some, is in the saving of lives from being a convicted felon for mere possession and the enormous costs that represents to everyone.

Jealousy is another fact; alcohol consumers are accepted, and alcoholism is a disease which takes most of the responsibility out of the user hands and transfers it to some unforeseeable malady caused by genetics rather than by choice and they, alcohol consumers, don’t want to share that escape hatch. Also, alcohol consumers are having a real hard time accepting the fact that their drug of choice doesn’t come with the added benefit of being a source of actual medical beneficial treatment and is actually the drug that better fits the definition of a Schedule 1 drug “no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse and or addiction”.

Time, and not all the common sense arguments you make, will offer up the acceptance that cannabis deserves…

Agree 100%

And they are not looking to free big-time, violent criminal dealers.

As far as the CBD, they probably want to make that S1 so pharma can make a killing. It’s probably the only component of MJ that has useful medical propeties. THC not so much.

And I’m sorry you’ve had to see the terribly effects of opioids. The vast majority of patients should never had access to them.

They ought to just quit beating around the bushes and allow the Democrats to just open the gates of the prisons and release everyone. A couple of things might happen. Most of the gangs would end up killing each other. Millions would be saved when the prisons were cleaned out. People who still have guns will take care of most of the other felons who would be roaming the streets. Kind of scary but I bet there are some in Sacramento that would endorse this.

Why would you even write such a silly over the top thing that would never happen?

This is why reducing education spending is such a problem.

rukiddinf So you say just open the gates of the prison and release everyone. You know what? That would a good idea! That would provide a great chance to let the real criminals in! The trump administration could have room to get in! And the

corrupt cops, corrupt politicians, and the corrupt people at CAPSLO, and Ian Parkinson would have plenty of space to live in prison! Corey Pierce and Steve Gesell could live there!

Adam Hill and Lisa Niesen could be roommates! Great idea!

Let’s follow your logic:

Releasing non violent pot smokers =democrats releasing everyone

Did I read that right?

Granted that some penalties were way too much say for first offenders or small quantities. You can say what you want but there is no doubt in my mind that MJ is a gateway drug. It’s the criminal environment that is mostly bad about it’s use. Unfortunately the government is only pushing this for the money very similar to being a dealer. I would suggest that the medical part be dealt with like a prescription drug where a doctor can actually prescribe it. The recreational use should be treated fairly just like alcohol is.

“A study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of School Health has concluded that the theory of a gateway drug is not associated with marijuana, but rather one of the most damaging and socially accepted drugs in the world, alcohol. The findings from this investigation support that alcohol should receive primary attention in abuse prevention programming, since the use of other substances could be impacted by delaying or preventing alcohol use.” – Psychology Today, 8/24/14


“In a sense, yes, but the important thing to note is that every drug is a gateway drug if used during adolescence or young adulthood while brain development is still underway. Whether it’s nicotine, alcohol, marijuana or opioids, it is the age of the person initiating use – not the specific substance itself – that increases the risk of using other addictive substances and developing addiction.” – Center on Addiction, 1/09/18

“Patterns in progression of drug use from adolescence to adulthood are strikingly regular. Because it is the most widely used illicit drug, marijuana is predictably the first illicit drug most people encounter. Not surprisingly, most users of other illicit drugs have used marijuana first. In fact, most drug users begin with alcohol and nicotine before marijuana — usually before they are of legal age. In the sense that marijuana use typically precedes rather than follows initiation of other illicit drug use, it is indeed a “gateway” drug. But because underage smoking and alcohol use typically precede marijuana use, marijuana is not the most common, and is rarely the first, “gateway” to illicit drug use. There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.” – Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, 10/29/10

While we are at throw out all DUI convictions,all robberies,he’ll just close all jails and prisons.when I went to work for the Dept.Of Corruptions in 62 a state psyc.said in your lifetime you will wish you are behind this fence and gun towers because the criminals will be ruling the streets.

Oh look another “what can I say to scare the gop base” outrageous will never happen FUD.

What if pigs fly? What if trump admits to a felony on tv. What if the evil libs open the border and let all the Canadians in? What if reefer madness is true?

Just like when you folks voted on the Three Strikes Law back in 1994 it was all about “job security” rather than protecting the public. How would I know that? I was at Wasco at the time, a Lieutenant’s clerk on the reception yard, and I watched and heard the “baby sitters” brag about it, and well within the earshot of myself and other convicts so we would be sure to hear it (your union was also the biggest single money contributor to that law as well as the biggest single money contributor against it’s reform, even though the father who’s daughter’s death, Polly Klaas, brought about the law thought it should be reformed as well as it didn’t represent what he thought it was going to be, a law that dealt with violent criminals and not some poor schmuck gettin’ a life sentence for stealin’ pizza from an empty table in a Pizza Hut because he was hungry).

It is never about Corrections or Rehabilitation with you folks, nope! It’s about your job and your job security, and if your folks had it your way everyone would have a life sentence without parole and the state as a whole would be your “work place”. Get over it c.d., pot ain’t the problem, the problem is a justice system, including CDCR, that keeps putting people away to perpetuate and support a slave system that only you and the members of CCPOA benefit from.

And I thought OG “baby sitters” had a little more professionalism and were better informed, at least when I first arrived in ’74 they did…

By-the-way, that “R” in CDCR should stand for “Recidivism” as that’s CDCR’s bread-and-butter…

I believe this will accomplish a couple of things. We’ll reduce our prison population slightly and when all of the backstreet dealers get back in business it’ll dilute or force down the prices in the legal shops which will increase overall revenue and generate more taxes (for the politicians to spend on DARE programs).

Instead of jail time, they can now legally sell pot and help our state get out of debt. What a novel statement, now it’s ok because we need it to be ok and why? Our super smart leaders legally overpaid themselves, retired and we can’t afford to fund retired pot salesman too.

Prop 13 got us here, if someone has to sell dime bags to erase the shortfall, then so be it.

So what you’re saying is they should eliminate Prop 13? Shortfall of what tax revenue? Ca has a serious problem with pointless spending, not income.