Prop 64’s rules were written to be applied retroactively, allowing California residents to request the expungement of old marijuana convictions for the cultivation, possession, and distribution of cannabis.
But the legal process for having the convictions erased is expensive, confusing, and many aren’t even aware of its existence.
In February, Assemblymember Rob Bonta [D] stepped in to try and help solve the issue by introducing AB1793, a bill to automatically expunge cannabis convictions from the records of eligible residents. The measure made its way through the legislature with relative ease, passing in August.
On Sunday evening, Governor Jerry Brown added his signature to AB1793, making it law.
“@jerryBrownGov signed my #AB1793 to reduce or remove outdated #cannabis convictions so people can turn the page & make a fresh start,” wrote Bonta in a tweet Sunday night. “Outdated convictions shouldn’t be a barrier to employment & housing. #AB1793 allows people to more easily access their existing #Prop 64 rights.”
According to a report by the Drug Policy Alliance, law enforcement arrested nearly 500,000 Californians for cannabis charges between 2006 and 2015.
Now that AB1793 has passed, officials have until July 1, 2019, to compile a list of cases that are eligible for expungement.