On Sunday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that creates a process to expunge or reduce the sentences of people charged under the state's marijuana laws before recreational cannabis was legalized this year. Enactment of this law takes another step toward nullifying federal marijuana prohibition in effect in California.
Assm. Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) introduced Assembly Bill 1793 (AB1793) in January. Under the new law, the court will automatically reduce or dismiss marijuana convictions pursuant to the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) unless prosecutors successfully challenge the dismissal of charges or sentence reduction.
In November 2016, voters in California approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana for general use by adults. The law went into effect on Jan. 1. Under the AUMA, any person charged under previous California marijuana laws can petition for the recall or dismissal of a sentence, dismissal and sealing of a conviction, or redesignation of a conviction of an offense for which a lesser offense or no offense would be imposed under new law.