Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democratic state senator from Oakland, is proposing a new law that will give those with previous marijuana convictions a new chance at life as the state heads into the next stages of legalization.
He introduced new legislation this week that would help automatically expunge eligible records. This follows the passing of Proposition 64, which, according to Leafly, "legalized marijuana and retroactively erased and reduced some cannabis-related criminal penalties from felonies to misdemeanors." This proposition requires convicts to initiate the reversal by themselves, but its complicated and costly process makes it difficult for many to undergo. At this time, only 5000 people have applied for the process, even though researchers believe that nearly 100,000 are eligible.
Bonta himself explained that automatically expunging their records will“give folks who deserve it under the law the fresh start they’re entitled to.”
While there are no estimates on how much this would cost counties and the state, this new freedom for those previously convicted could help change many people's lives dealing in minor marijuana crimes.