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Proposition 64 Beyond Recreation – Expungement and Resentencing for Cannabis Convicts

By a margin of about 56% to 44% California voters passed Proposition 64, making California the fifth state to legalize recreational cannabis. But the new law provides more than fun: anyone convicted of a marijuana offense under California law has the opportunity to get the new rules applied retroactively to their case.
This can mean early release from prison for people currently serving a sentence. It can mean clearing one’s record of a felony conviction, allowing him to pursue otherwise unavailable employment opportunities, to vote, and to legally own a firearm.

The 62-page “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” (AUMA) sets out these rules, as well as the rules and regulations on recreational use, but the following is a basic summary of what AUMA can do for a cannabis convict.

The general rule for resentencing under Prop 64 is a logical one. If the act is no longer a crime, your conviction can be expunged (i.e., cleared from your record for all purposes). Similarly, if Prop 64 changed the act from a felony to a misdemeanor, you have the right to petition the court to have your conviction resentenced as a misdemeanor. In either case, this can mean early release from prison or jail, complete or partial rehabilitation of one’s criminal record, or both.

Examples of resentencing and expungement opportunities under Prop 64

From Felony to Misdemeanor

  • Possession of 28.5 grams or more, or possession of more than 4 grams of concentrated cannabis
  • Cultivation of more than 6 plants of cannabis
  • Possession of cannabis for sale
  • Transporting, importing into California, selling, furnishing, administering, or giving away, or offering to transport, import into California, sell, furnish, administer, or give away, or attempting to import into California or transport 28.5 grams or more of cannabis

From Crime to Infraction

  • Giving away, offering to give away, transporting, offering to transport, or attempting to transport not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis
From Crime to Legal!
  • Cultivation of 6 plants or less
The summary of the available remedies above is just that – a summary – so it is important to keep in mind that there are exceptions for certain criminal histories that will bar relief. Additionally, this is not a complete list of cannabis crimes which have been affected by AUMA.
To see if you qualify for relief under AUMA, call The Nieves Law Firm, APC to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Author Bio

Jo-Anna Nieves is the Founder and Managing Attorney of The Nieves Law Firm, an Oakland criminal defense law firm she created in 2012. With more than 11 years of experience in criminal defense, she has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, domestic violence, expungement, federal crimes, juvenile law, motions to vacate, sex crimes, violent crimes, and other criminal charges.

Jo-Anna received her Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Super Lawyer Rising Star the past 8 years, the #12 Fastest Growing Law Firm in the U.S. by Law Firm 500 in 2019, and one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. by Inc 5000 in 2023.

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