Expunging Cannabis Crimes in California

By Cara Anderson

IG: @carajojo

Since cannabis was legalized in the state, Californians have been able to undergo an expensive and extensive process to expunge and reduce their criminal records. Some people are not aware that they can expunge their record, and others simply cannot afford the legal process.

California State Assemblyman Rob Bonta has drafted a bill to require courts to automatically change criminal records affected by legalization. Assembly Bill 1793 will allow felonies to be reduced to misdemeanors and will wipe the records of people whose crimes are now not punishable under Prop. 64.

San Diego and San Francisco have caught on to the wave.

San Diego will remove or reduce the cannabis-related sentences of 4,700 people.

SF District Attorney George Gascón announced his will begin reviewing all cannabis-related crimes dating back to 1975. They will automatically expunge over 3,000 misdemeanors and review about 5,000 felonies for resentencing.

Having a felony on your record can limit job and housing options, these retroactive changes will benefit many communities.

“Obviously, marijuana is a beneficial plant, so the fact that people have had their lives ruined or had their records tainted because of it is just really, really horrible to me.” – Julie Mastrine, Care2 cannabis activist, told SF Weekly