Marijuana Moment reports
California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) is urging the prosecuting attorneys throughout the state to expedite their overdue processing of past marijuana convictions in order to allow eligible individuals to have their sentences reduced or removed and past records sealed from public view.
Proposition 64, which California voters passed in 2016 to legalize cannabis for adults, allowed people with certain prior convictions to petition to the courts for relief, an effort to undo criminal consequences of conduct that is no longer illegal. The plan rolled out inconsistently across the state and into repeated delays, so in 2018 lawmakers passed separate legislation to streamline the process.
Bonta, a state assembly member at the time, was that bill’s lead sponsor.
“Since this law went into effect,” he said in a statement Wednesday, “tens of thousands of Californians have been able to turn the page and make a fresh start—but unfortunately there are still some who are waiting for relief. I urge counties to prioritize processing their records so that these Californians can finally get the relief they deserve.”
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Attorney General Bonta Urges Prosecuting Agencies to Work with Courts to Prioritize Relief for Californians with Outdated Cannabis Convictions
OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today urged county prosecuting agencies to work with superior courts to prioritize the updating of cannabis convictions under AB 1793 so that Californians can promptly obtain the relief they are entitled to under the law. Before July 2019, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) identified and provided county prosecuting agencies with a list of Californians that might have convictions eligible to be reduced or removed under AB 1793. But, to date, there are still past convictions in the state’s database that are potentially eligible for resentencing. Attorney General Bonta today encourages counties to prioritize reviewing and updating these records and to promptly notify DOJ of the resentencing.
“As the lead author of AB 1793 in the Assembly, it is now my privilege and honor to see its promise through as California’s Attorney General,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Since this law went into effect, tens of thousands of Californians have been able to turn the page and make a fresh start – but unfortunately there are still some who are waiting for relief. I urge counties to prioritize processing their records so that these Californians can finally get the relief they deserve. My team is available as a resource, and we won’t stop working until every Californian eligible for relief under AB 1793 is experiencing the law’s intended benefits.”
In 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, legalizing the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis by adults 21 years and older. Proposition 64 also allowed individuals convicted for the possession, cultivation, or sale of cannabis to petition, as appropriate, for resentencing. AB 1793, authored by Attorney General Bonta when he served as an assemblymember, was intended to streamline this process. AB 1793 required DOJ to review records in the state summary criminal history information database and to identify past convictions potentially eligible for recall or dismissal of sentence, dismissal and sealing, or re-designation. If there is no challenge to the resentencing, courts are required to automatically reduce or dismiss the conviction and to notify DOJ to update the state summary criminal history information database to reflect the resentencing.
A copy of the bulletin can be found here.