Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, legalized recreational marijuana use in California. And Prop 64 applies retroactively.
This means that many people convicted of--or charged with--violating California's marijuana laws as they existed prior to Prop 64 will have the right to have the charges dismissed, or their sentences reduced, or their convictions dismissed.
Proposition 64 is a complicated law. But some of the major changes it has made to California marijuana law include:
- Simple possession of up to about an ounce of marijuana, or up to four grams of concentrated cannabis, is now legal for people 21 and older;
- Cultivation of up to six marijuana plants for personal use is now legal; and
- Possession for sale of marijuana, and illegal sale/transport of marijuana, are now misdemeanors for most defendants, rather than felonies.
Since these changes are retroactive, there are a variety of forms of relief that people currently facing charges for, or already convicted of, marijuana offenses could receive. To list just some examples:
- A defendant currently facing charges for cultivating four marijuana plants in his/her home for personal use should see his/her charges dismissed.
- A defendant currently serving a felony sentence for marijuana sales can apply for resentencing, if s/he is among the majority of defendants for whom this crime is now a misdemeanor. Depending on how much of the sentence s/he has already served, s/he might be eligible for immediate release from jail.
- A defendant who has already completed a felony sentence for possession of marijuana for sale can apply to have his/her conviction redesignated as a misdemeanor. This means s/he will no longer have to report a felony conviction on job applications and will be free of the restrictions California law places on convicted felons (such as restrictions on firearm ownership).
- A defendant who was convicted years ago for cultivating six or fewer marijuana plants, and has completed his/her sentence, would not have been guilty of any crime under Prop 64. Therefore, s/he can apply to have the conviction dismissed and the record of conviction sealed.
There is no deadline for applying for resentencing/redesignation/dismissal under Prop 64. The judge reviewing your application is supposed to presume that you are entitled to relief unless the prosecutor can show by clear and convincing evidence that you are not.
(Judges do, however, have the right to refuse to resentence a defendant if they believe s/he poses an unreasonable risk to public safety.)
Our California marijuana attorneys here at Shouse Law Group are already familiarizing themselves with the procedures for relief under Prop 64. If you think you or a loved one might be eligible, please don't hesitate to contact us.