The legalization of marijuana in California was celebrated by cannabis advocates around the world. The state holds the 6th largest economy in the world and the ability to greatly influence other states and countries through its social and economic power. For those living in the state though, there was more for which to be grateful and one of those things is a provision that is contained within Proposition 64, the bill that legalized recreational marijuana for adults in the state. The provision states that those who were convicted of marijuana possession in the present or past may have their record or charges adjusted to be in sync with the new updated law.
How the Provision Will Benefit Lives
This provision means a lot to those who have had their criminal record interfere with employment, housing, loans, education and the other areas in that a felony record could impact. For those who are incarcerated, it could mean a reduced sentence or a complete release from custody. For others it may mean having their record wiped clean. Not only will the new law lower crime and open prison space for actual violent offenders, it will likely play a large part in stopping the cycles of crime as past offenders will be able to obtain legitimate work with a clean record.
California Supportive of Those Wanting to Clear Their Records
Over 2,500 people have already filed paperwork to have their sentences reduced or criminal records cleaned. The Drug Policy Alliance, an organization that has been advocating for the changes to marijuana laws, set up clinics across the state that offer free legal help to people who are wanting to get their records cleared. Marijuana defense lawyers have also been receiving an influx of people who are looking to wipe the slate clean by erasing the criminal charges from their record. According to prosecutors, the state has not been fighting the requests, allowing people to easily and swiftly adjust the charges to fit the current law.
Setting Up Marijuana Regulations
While recreational marijuana is now legal to possess in California for adults over 21, it is still not legal to sell. Regulators are still doing the work of setting up the infrastructure of the recreational marijuana industry in California which is supposed to be set up to function by early 2018. California legalized medical marijuana in 1986 and has had an active medical marijuana industry ever since. The medical laws and regulations will have to be harmonious with the laws for the recreational use of marijuana. This has been the biggest job for regulators in the state so far.
While 8 states with 20 percent of the country’s population have now legalized recreational marijuana, other states such as Vermont and Rhode Island are looking to follow by legalizing the plant through legislation as opposed to a vote. Nonetheless, the plant remains illegal on a federal level. Multiple bills have been introduced this year seeking to change its legal status and classification. The Trump administration has not shown enthusiasm for the marijuana industry but only time will tell whether or not they will choose to interfere with state law. Until then, people who committed the harmless and nonviolent act of possessing weed can have their sentences reduced and names cleared.