California Bill Would Automatically Expunge Past Marijuana Convictions

California Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) has introduced legislation that would require county courts to automatically expunge the records of those who have been charged with a marijuana-related crime that’s since been legalized, reports Kathleen Ronayne of the Associated Press.

In 2016 California voters approved the ability to wipe criminal marijuana conviction records as a provision in the legalization initiative Proposition 64. However, the existing law requires people with convictions to initiate the process themselves, but many people don’t (often because they don’t know they can, as the option has received little publicity) For some, the process is simply to complicated and costly. Although roughly 5,000 people have applied for an expungement as of 2017, it’s only a small portion of the total number of people eligible.

The proposed law would change this, requiring that these eligible charges be expunged from people’s records automatically. This would remove the requirement that an individual themselves seek an expungement. According to Bonta, the proposal would “give folks who deserve it under the law the fresh start they’re entitled to”.

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Vermont Governor Signs Bill Allowing Expungement of Cannabis Offenses

cannabisisnotpotVermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D) has signed Senate Bill 115 into law, allowing those convicted of possessing up to an ounce of cannabis prior to 2013 to have the charge removed from their record.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Joe Benning (R-Lyndonville), allows Vermont residents who were convicted of crimes that are “no longer prohibited by law or designated as a criminal offense” to apply to have the charges expunged (removed) from their records.

In 2013, lawmakers decriminalized the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, meaning anyone convicted of such a crime before the law took effect can now have the charge expunged from their criminal record, meaning it would no longer appear in a background check.

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Jamaica Will Soon Decriminalize Cannabis Possession

Jamaica will soon decriminalize the personal possession of cannabis, and will also allowjam possession for medical, religious and scientific purposes, according to an announcement made today by Justice Minister Mark Golding.

According to the announcement, the cabinet is supporting a soon-to-be-released proposal to decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, making it a simple fine rather than an arrestable offense.

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