California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Sunday a bill that will simplify the process for expunging past convictions for some marijuana offenses. The measure, Assembly Bill 1793, was passed by the California Senate in August with a bipartisan vote of 22-8 after being approved by the California State Assembly on May 31 by a vote of 43-28.
Democratic Assemblymember Ron Bonta of Oakland, who sponsored the bill, said the new law will help lessen the continuing impact of cannabis prohibition on those with prior convictions.
“The failed war on drugs has, in so many ways, wreaked havoc, damage, pain, and anguish on so many Californians,” said Bonta. “This is where government can step in and make it better.”
Prop 64, passed by voters in 2016, legalized the recreational use and sale of cannabis and eliminated many marijuana-related crimes. That decriminalization also applied retroactively, making many eligible for a reduction or elimination of past cannabis convictions. Those with convictions for non-violent felonies including possession or distribution of less than one ounce of cannabis are eligible for reduction to misdemeanors.
“Prop. 64 provided redemption and rehab and a chance to rebuild those lives – these expungement and reductions are a big part of that,”