Legislation that would allow for the expungement (removal from criminal record) of over 200,000 past marijuana-related convictions has been given approval by California’s full legislature.
The full California Legislature has passed Assembly Bill 1793, which was filed by Assemblymember Rob Bontag. The measure now goes to Governor Jerry Brown, who has the option of signing it into law, allowing it to become law without his signature, or veto it.
The legislation requires the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to compile a list of individuals that would either be eligible for a complete expungement of their marijuana-related convictions, or for a reduction in sentencing. This would apply to any marijuana charge that has since been legalized under Proposition 64; this includes possessing up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.
According to the Winter Express, the state’s DOJ says there could be as many as 220,000 cases that are eligible for either a reduction or complete erasure of a conviction. The measure, if signed by the governor, would require the DOJ to compile the list by July of next year; prosecutors would then have an additional year to decide which cases they’d like to challenge because the case at issue either doesn’t meet eligibility requirements or centers on an individual who poses “an unreasonable risk to public safety.”
The public defender’s office in each county will also be notified of eligible cases, and the measure requires public defenders to notify individuals of their eligibility status.
The full text of Assembly Bill 1793 can be found by clicking here.