While some California cities are rolling back marijuana convictions voluntarily, Del Norte County residents will have to get that ball rolling themselves.
Residents may also be able to have their previous convictions reduced or dismissed entirely if they file a petition with the county.
“Prop 64 did not legalize all trafficking or use of marijuana,” according to the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office website, “but it did legalize possession of small amounts at home, reduce some crime from felonies to misdemeanors and others from misdemeanors to infractions, plus it gives grounds to reduce or dismiss prior convictions.”
According to a recent report by the Associated Press, prosecutors in San Francisco and San Diego are moving to erase thousands of marijuana convictions.
Although the Federal Government still considers marijuana illegal, California and other states have laws that allow its recreational use by adults.
San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan said her office reviewed its records following passage of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act before releasing 55 people from jail and taking hundreds from probation. Stephan told the AP that 680 total cases had been dismissed or reduced.
In Del Norte County, it may be possible to get marijuana-specific convictions reduced or erased, but it will not happen automatically.
Interim District Attorney Katherine Micks said her office staff is not going through files and pulling out convictions. She said said some people have filed petitions to have their convictions reduced or dismissed and the court has granted some.
Those wishing to have their case dismissed or reduced can do so through the Del Norte County Court Clerk’s Office and need to file a petition for dismissal or reduction under Prop 64.
“If the marijuana offense for which you were convicted is no longer an offense under Prop 64, then the case will be dismissed and all arrest records, all court records and Department of Justice records regarding your offense will be sealed,” the SFPD Office website states.
The San Francisco Public Defender’s Office website has information at http://sfpublicdefender.org/prop-64-faqs/ that tells which convictions qualify for dismissal or reduction and how to get a felony record changed.
As to whether a dismissal would mean the return of formerly seized marijuana, Micks said it would be highly unlikely, since it would have been destroyed by authorities following the conviction.