California Politician Wants to Make It Much Easier to Clear Marijuana Convictions from Criminal Records

One of the most interesting aspects of California's new recreational marijuana law was a provision that would allow people with marijuana convictions to get their criminal records cleared. However, some say the process to do so is complicated, long and expensive. One California politician is looking to make it easier.

California Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democrat from Oakland, introduced a new bill to make the marijuana conviction clearing process easier for individuals. Under the current law, people with marijuana convictions have to petition the courts to get their records cleared. But Bonta's law would make get all marijuana-related offenses automatically expunged, which would mean the burden would be on the courts, not the individuals, to make sure the criminal records are cleared up.

“Let’s be honest, navigating the legal system bureaucracy can be costly and time-consuming,” Bonta told the press. His bill “will give people the fresh start to which they are legally entitled and allow them to move on with their lives.”

Since September, nearly 5,000 Californians have petitioned the courts to get their marijuana convictions expunged. However, there are still thousands more who not only haven't done so, but may not even be aware that they can do so. Therefore their convictions stay on their criminal record and prevent them from getting jobs or housing, even though there's a legal avenue for them to get them removed.

Bonta's bill would make it so even those who are not aware of the new law would be able to reap the benefits. People who otherwise would not be able to get a job because they were arrested with an insignificant amount of marijuana would have their criminal records cleared without any work of their own.

(h/t LA Times)


Mickey Hart knows a thing or two about cannabis. An accomplished musicologist and drummer, Hart is best known as a longtime member of the Grateful Dead, which he joined in 1967. Anyone who's been to a Dead show can attest their music pairs exceptionally well with weed - it's no surprise that they're deeply tied to the origin of 420.

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