The passing and 2018 enactment of Proposition 64 changed the cannabis industry as we knew it and opened the state and most importantly growers to the world of recreational cannabis use and businesses. What Proposition 64 also did was create a pathway for individuals who have cannabis related criminal convictions to seek an expungement which is also known as a dismissal for those convictions. Initially the process was not an easy walk in the park and we did experience resistance from the office of the District Attorney but as time has gone on the system has evolved.
Under Health and Safety Code section 11361.9, it permits some cannabis convictions to be automatically expunged or resentenced without the filing of a petition. Throughout the state the local offices of the District Attorney had until July 1, 2020 to identify and notify the courts of the cases they planned to challenge regarding resentencing eligibility. If the offices of the District Attorney did not notify the courts and the office of the Public Defender of the challenged cases the courts will notify the Department of Justice of the resentencing classification.
To date the Department of Justice has released over 191,000 records in California and over 1480 cases in Monterey County. The resentencing and classification allow endless opportunities for thousands of people who have felony records for cannabis convictions and will certainly clear up any cannabis licensing issues for those who have continued into the recreational commercial cannabis world. To find out if your case has been released, contact the Department of Justice or the local District Attorney or Public Defender’s office.
Jennifer Rosenthal is a local cannabis and criminal defense attorney. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and does not reflect an official position of the Association.