Big changes are coming in 2018 for hundreds of thousands of people convicted of marijuana-related crimes in the state of California. Proposition 64, which was passed in 2016, not only legalized recreational marijuana, it also included language that could potentially reduce criminal penalties and reclassify past marijuana-related offenses for both juveniles and adults. Many could even have their cases or convictions dismissed.
According to Eunisses Hernandez, a policy coordinator at Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), “California’s Proposition 64 ballot measure was not only about marijuana legalization, it was one of the most progressive sentencing and criminal justice reforms in the entire country.” The DPA posted a report in 2016 which stated that at least 500-thousand people have been arrested and thousands incarcerated for marijuana possession or marijuana-related crimes
Any citizen who wishes to have their marijuana convictions reclassified or cleared completely will be required to submit an application to the courts. Some may need legal assistance depending on their case and conviction.
There are several local governments also working towards trying to enact “Equity Programs,” which will allow victims of the War On Drugs (WOD) to have application priority, possibly bringing them to the top of the list during the marijuana business licensing process.
Oakland recently enlisted an equity permit program setting aside half of all recreational, as well as, medical marijuana business licenses for those hit hardest by the War On drugs. Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles city councils are considering following suit.