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California key cannabis bills advance; public comment period continues on proposed rules

Aug 22, 2018 Garret Overstreet

AB 1793, CA, California, expungement, Gov. Jerry Brown, SB 829

Two compassionate cannabis-related bills are advancing, and, if you’re a California resident, now is a good time to voice your support. Here’s a rundown:

AB 1793 would make expungement automatic for cannabis-related convictions that today are no longer considered crimes. It passed the Assembly in May, the Senate earlier today, and it’s now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk! If you live in California, let Gov. Brown know it’s time to repair the harm caused by outdated marijuana-war policy. Californians shouldn’t be branded with a scarlet letter for conduct that is now legal.

Meanwhile, SB 829 would waive cultivation fees for donations medical cannabis businesses make to low- or no-income patients. This bill passed the Senate on May 17 followed by three Assembly committees after that. Now it faces an Assembly floor vote. If you’re a Californian and you haven’t already, use this link to send a message to your Assemblymember in support.

Finally, it’s not too late to comment on proposed agency rules for cannabis businesses. For the proposed text, summaries, and contact info for submitting comments, visit the state’s website. Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 27.

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General

California: Key bill could automatically clear marijuana convictions

In the coming days, lawmakers are expected to vote on providing relief for Californians saddled with harmful cannabis-related criminal histories. Under Assembly Bill 1793, any adult who was convicted of a marijuana offense that is no longer illegal would have their conviction erased automatically. This is a huge step forward to repairing decades of harmful policy.

Marijuana prohibition has harmed hundreds of thousands of individuals who now have cannabis convictions. This can limit career, educational, and housing opportunities. Since voters approved Prop. 64 in 2016, Californians have been able to petition to expunge (remove) these prior convictions, but the process can be costly and burdensome. And many don’t realize it’s an option.

AB 1793 would make the process automatic. It would direct the state Department of Justice to review the state’s criminal database and identify convictions that could be dismissed, downgraded, or simply expunged, and take the steps needed to make those changes.

If you are a California resident, contact your Assemblymember and voice your support for AB 1793.

To learn about the status of other cannabis reform bills in California, check out this East Bay Express article.

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