We all know cannabis can make you forgetful, but did you know a new weed bill might make the government forgetful about your your past weed crimes? That’s the best we could do as we try to jokily segue you into reading about a new measure introduced into the most exciting place on earth: the California State Assembly.
That is where Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland, if you must know) just introduced a new bill require all county courts to automatically expunge all cannabis convictions in their systems, as reported by the Associated Press.
As it stands now, Californians with a cannabis-checkered past can manually have their own records erased or, in some cases, reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. All that was allowed for when the state adopted Proposition 64 last year.
As of September 2017, only 5,000 people, a small percentage of those affected, had applied to have their cannabis records changed or removed. That’s because the process can be long, complicated, and expensive, and some people might not even know it’s an option.
That’s why Mr. Bonta wants to just get it all done with right away, and “give folks who deserve it under the law the fresh start they’re entitled to.” Bonta also noted that cannabis convictions disproportionately affect young people in minority groups.
The same people who are disadvantaged by the justice system in the first place may also be at a disadvantage to enter into bureaucratic battles with the courts to try to augment their criminal records.
Not only would automatically expunging cannabis records save time and money for the people trying to clear their records, it would also likely do so for the courts, who could transfer the complicated expunging process into simple clerical work.
Photo via Flickr user Prayitono