The California voters approved Proposition 64 on November 8, 2016, virtually legalizing recreational use, possession, and transportation of marijuana. Moreover, under the proposition, individuals convicted of felony marijuana offenses before the passage of the provision can file a resentencing petition for lower penalties. A conviction for a marijuana crime can deny you job opportunities, apartment leases, relationships, and business opportunities. Prop 64 allows you to clear the record and obtain a clean slate.
Even though marijuana is virtually legal, resentencing will not clear your criminal record. You must file for marijuana record expungement. Nevertheless, to clear your marijuana record under Proposition 64, you need legal representation from a record-clearing attorney to understand your eligibility and the legal process involved.
Changes Made on Marijuana Convictions Under Proposition 64
The passage of Prop 64 changed the conduct involving marijuana that was deemed criminal and the levels of charges preferred for these actions. What was previously considered a felony before Prop 64 is now a misdemeanor, and what was a misdemeanor then is an infraction today. If you were previously convicted of a marijuana offense that has been reduced under the new provision, you should speak to an experienced attorney about a redesignation.
The alterations brought about by the adoption of Prop 64 on marijuana crimes are:
Possession of an Ounce of Pot or 8g of Hashish
After Prop 64 came into effect in 2018, it is legal to possess or use up to an ounce of cannabis or 8g of hashish or concentrated cannabis otherwise without violating the Health and Safety Code (HS 11357). Before the passage of the new marijuana provisions, a violation of HS 11357 was a felony. However, today, possessing more than the designated quantity of cannabis or hashish for personal use is a misdemeanor, attracting no more than half a year in jail or a monetary court fine not exceeding $500.
Similarly, only a person 21 or older can possess the designated cannabis or hashish quantity without committing a crime under Proposition 64. Any person 21 or younger who retains any marijuana in Prop 64 will be convicted of an infraction. An infraction conviction attracts a small court-imposed fine for individuals younger than 18, community labor, and drug addiction counseling.
Also, under the new provisions, it is illegal to possess marijuana on K-12 grounds or inside the school during learning hours.
Marijuana possession in school is charged as a misdemeanor whose guilty verdict results in $250 fines if you are below 21 but over 18. Underage persons under 18 face infraction charges when they possess marijuana in school and risk community labor and drug counseling when convicted.
Possession of Marijuana by a Minor
It is illegal for any person under 21 to be in control of any amount of pot or concentrated cannabis. Under Proposition 64, the offense is an infraction that attracts these penalties:
- $100 fines if you are above 18.
- Four hours of drug counseling and no more than ten hours of communal labor if you are younger than 18 and a first-time offender.
- Six hours of drug treatment and twenty hours of community labor for a subsequent crime.
Possession of Marijuana with Motive to Sell
Before the passage of Prop 64, HS 11359 made it a felony to possess marijuana to sell. However, it is legal to keep marijuana for sale if you have a valid license. Individuals selling marijuana without valid licenses still risk arrest and prosecution. Nevertheless, this time they face misdemeanor charges instead of felony charges. The penalties for a misdemeanor conviction are:
- A half a year of jail incarceration.
- $500 in monetary court fines.
It would help to understand that you can still be charged with a felony HS 11359 violation under Proposition 64 if you have been previously sentenced for a serious violent felony like murder or a sex offense with an obligation to enlist with the sex offender registry.
Another instance when you will face felony charges under the Code is if you have two prior misdemeanor HS 11359 violation convictions or knowingly sold or tried to sell marijuana to an individual younger than 18.
Felony marijuana possession for sale without a license attracts 16, 24, or 36 months in jail, even with decriminalization.
Marijuana Sale or Transportation
Prop 64 has legalized the sale or transportation of pot among individuals with Bureau of Marijuana Control-issued licenses. Before decriminalization, HS 11360 was a felony. Nevertheless, if you sell or transport cannabis without a permit today, you will be charged with a misdemeanor whose conviction attracts no more than a six months jail sentence or $1,000 in court fines.
However, the offense could still be charged as a felony despite legalization if the following is true:
- You have a past conviction for a violent felony.
- You have at least two previous sentences under HS 11360.
- You furnished or tried to sell or provide a person below 18 with marijuana.
- You imported, offered, or tried to import over 28.5g of pot or 8g of hashish into California.
A felony conviction under any of these circumstances will result in at least two years and no more than forty-eight months in jail.
The adoption of Prop 64 did not put an end to marijuana crime convictions. It only decriminalized the sale of pot by individuals with valid licenses. However, people will persist in committing crimes around marijuana as they try to avoid regulations and taxes under the new provisions.
Marijuana Plants Cultivation
After marijuana decriminalization, it is not unlawful to grow marijuana under specific circumstances. Before Prop 64, growing over six plants of cannabis was a felony violation under HS 11358. However, today it is legal to cultivate no more than six cannabis plants if you are at least 21 years old. If you grow more than this amount, your actions will amount to a crime, but thanks to the new provisions, you will face misdemeanor charges instead of felony charges. A misdemeanor conviction will result in at most six months in jail or a fine of no more than $500.
Nevertheless, the crime will be charged as a felony even under the new provisions if:
- You have a criminal record of severe violent felonies.
- Your name appears on the sex offender registry.
- You have at least two prior sentences for HS 11358 violation.
- You have violated California environmental statutes with your cannabis cultivation.
Any person under the age of 21 who cultivates any amount of cannabis plants risks infraction charges, even under the new marijuana laws.
It will be best to understand that the changes proposed by Prop 64, reducing the level of marijuana charges, do not translate to an expunction. Even when the conviction is lowered, it will still be a criminal record. Nevertheless, if you file for an expunction, it will disappear from your records. If you have questions about marijuana expungement after decriminalization laws, talk to an experienced attorney.
Applying for Resentencing
If you serve a lighter sentence under Proposition 64, you can apply for resentencing if you were convicted before adopting the new provisions. The judge can consider reducing the initial offense to a misdemeanor or an infraction if there is solid evidence and the prosecutor is not opposed to the reduction. If you meet the required criteria, the court will grant your request for resentencing if the move does not threaten general public safety.
You will be immediately released after serving your jail sentence under the new laws. Cannabis decriminalization means that a former felony is now a misdemeanor, and a former misdemeanor is currently an infraction.
By applying for resentencing, you can regain some of your civil rights, like gun ownership, which would not have been previously possible if your past sentence was for a felony.
Similarly, redesigning a misdemeanor as an infraction will make you more trustworthy. An infraction is a minor offense, and in the eyes of an employer or a landlord, it will look like a small mistake you made in the past. However, if you have a criminal record for a misdemeanor, you will look untrustworthy, which can dent your social and career lives.
Besides, when a felony is redesignated as a misdemeanor reduces the adverse effects of having a criminal record significantly. If your felony sentence is reduced to a misdemeanor, you will avoid the social stigma associated with felony convictions. Employers will discriminate against you based on your record, even if you satisfy all the other requirements. All doors will be closed for you if you have a felony record. However, even though a misdemeanor sentence will subject you to discrimination, it will be less severe than a felony sentence.
Here is an example to help you understand resentence better. Let us say you were sentenced to felony HS 11360 in August 2016 and sentenced to 36 months because you had no prior conviction. Post Prop 64, felony sentences have been reduced to misdemeanors. Under the circumstances, you should apply for resentencing, and because you have already served more than six months of the jail sentence required for the crime under the new laws, the court will grant your application, and you will be released immediately. The next step is to file for an expunction to have the criminal record sealed and erased.
Marijuana Expungement in Prop 64
After adopting the Prop 64 provision, several actions involving the recreational use, possession, sale, cultivation, and transportation of marijuana are no longer unlawful. If your initial conviction is no longer a crime today or has been redesignated, you should speak to an expunction attorney to have the sentence sealed and expunged. You are eligible to file for expunction after marijuana legalization if you have already served the penalties for the following:
- Possession of up to an ounce or 28.5g of cannabis by a party 21 or older.
- Possession of at most 8g of hashish by an adult 21 or older.
- Furnishing or offering to give at zero cost less than an ounce of cannabis to a party 21 or older.
- Transportation of less than 8g of hashish as a party 21 or older.
- Control or possession of cannabis tools by a party not younger than 21.
- Growing of no more than six marijuana plants by an individual not younger than 21.
- Smoking or consumption of cannabis products by an adult above 21.
An expunction under Proposition 64 does not come automatically. It is a lawful process whereby you must petition the judge to reduce or dismiss your initial sentence. When you have completed your sentence under the new provisions, you can obtain immediate jail release and apply for expungement to prevent your criminal history from haunting you even after serving your sentence.
Talk to an expungement attorney first to know if you meet the necessary criteria. Even if you do not qualify, an experienced attorney will advise you on the action you should take to be eligible for an expunction. After that, they will file the petition on your behalf and follow it through to give you a clean slate.
Meaning of California Prop 64 Provisions
Decriminalizing the recreational use of marijuana for persons 21 or older and redesigning particular conduct to misdemeanors or infractions under Proposition 64 has helped reduce crowding in prisons. Very few people are apprehended, charged, and sentenced for recreational use, cultivating, possessing, selling, or distributing cannabis, which has dramatically helped reduce overcrowding in prisons and jails.
Also, under the provisions, many people unable to access business opportunities, employment opportunities, education, affordable housing, and loans can now enjoy these opportunities thanks to Proposition 64's marijuana expungement. Life will be much easier when you have a criminal record for a misdemeanor or infraction because these offenses are eligible for expunction, unlike a felony sentence that cannot be expunged. Once you have cleared your criminal history, you can tell your employer or landlord that you have never been convicted without lying. Additionally, you can access education, a visa, a green card, or naturalization without fear of being denied these opportunities because of a criminal history.
Find a Knowledgeable Expungement Attorney Near Me
If you want to erase your marijuana sentence in Los Angeles, the Record Expungement Attorney can provide legal counsel and guidance. Our profound attorneys will evaluate your qualifications for an expungement petition under Prop 64 and walk you through the resentencing and expunction processes. To understand the effects of the new provisions on your marijuana record, call us today at 424-286-1516 for a free case review.