California Passes Bill To Expunge Old Marijuana Convictions

It's estimated that more than 218,000 cases could be eligible if Gov. Jerry Brown signs it into law.

California lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday that provides a legal framework to wipe out previous marijuana convictions.

The state’s Senate passed AB 1793, a bill that would force California’s Department of Justice to review the records of cannabis convictions that are eligible for “recall or dismissal of sentence, dismissal and sealing, or re-designation” under current marijuana laws.

Advocates across the country have pushed to wipe away cannabis convictions as more states begin to legalize or decriminalize the drug.

Despite the state’s relatively permissive laws, a Drug Policy Alliance study found that nearly 500,000 Californians were arrested on marijuana charges between 2006 and 2015. California first legalized medicinal marijuana in 1996 and passed a proposition legalizing recreational use in 2016.

There are more than 218,000 convictions that could be potentially wiped out or downgraded under the new law, according to CNN.

If Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signs the bill into law, state officials will have until July 1, 2019, to complete a list of eligible cases for recall. Prosecutors will have a year from that date to decide which cases they will challenge.

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