Proposition 64, passed back in November 2016, legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The new law not only stopped future drug charges for possessing marijuana, but also meant that people with past criminal charges for marijuana could have their record cleared. The law also downgraded certain felony offenses to misdemeanor offenses. However, according to the Press Enterprise, because the law required the convicted person to petition the court to have their record cleared or charge downgraded, many people did not take advantage of the option as they did not know exactly what to do.
People of color have been disproportionately affected by marijuana laws--”Drug Policy Alliance data shows that non-whites have been much more likely to be arrested and prosecuted for marijuana-related crimes,” even though marijuana use of whites and people of color is roughly the same.
Because few people were receiving the benefit of clearing their offenses, in 2018 the legislature approved Assembly Bill 1793 which gave the State Attorney General's office until July 1, 2019 to identify all past cases that were potentially eligible to be cleared and send those to the county to be reviewed. The county prosecutors then had until July 1, 2020 to review those cases and, unless the prosecutor opposed, the case would be cleared. Over 190,000 cases were sent from the state to the counties to be cleared. Some counties found even more cases that needed to be cleared.
However, even though the state recommended clearing a case, in many cases, county prosecutors opposed the recommendation. This happened in cases where the convicted person had specific prior offenses or were otherwise ineligible. If the county prosecutor opposed clearing a case, then the convicted person is back at square one: that person has to challenge the prosecutor's decision back in court.
There are many benefits of having a marijuana offense cleared--a criminal record, even for a marijuana offense that is no longer illegal, can have a negative impact on your life. It can mean a “lost job or housing opportunities, or for immigrants, [lead] to their deportation.” Clearing your record of a marijuana offense can give you a fresh start. If you have an old marijuana conviction that you believe should be cleared but wasn't, or if the prosecutor opposed the clearing of your marijuana case, it is important for you to talk to a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney.
How an Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
If you have a past marijuana offense, it is likely that you deserve to have it cleared from your record. The attorneys at the Kann California Law Group understand the ins and out of the new marijuana laws and can help you with your case. Our attorneys can:
- Look over the details of your past marijuana offense
- Answer questions you have about clearing your offense
- Help you petition the court to have your record cleared
- Appear by your side in court to help you defend your rights
We have years of experience helping clients through the entire criminal process, including helping clients clear their records when laws change. We can talk about your case during a free consultation, so contact us today online or by calling 888-744-7730 or contact us through our confidential online contact form to see how we can help!