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Legalization Allows Some Californians To Reduce Their Pot Convictions


SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – With the legalization of pot in California, some previous convictions are going up in smoke. Thousands of people convicted of marijuana crimes are requesting their records be reduced.

A lesser-known provision of the November ballot initiative that legalized recreational marijuana allows some felonies to be reduced to misdemeanors.

"Many DA's offices are still in the process of working on the mechanics on how to handle these people. But in effect, the courts are receptive to making sure people get a second chance," San Jose attorney and legal analyst Steven Clark told KCBS.

The first people in line to benefit from the change are those serving time or on probation, and they were notified of the change.

"But it's for the people that have old marijuana convictions that may not know about the potential benefit," Clark said. "In which they need to be informed that they can go back to court and potentially get their charge re-characterized, which will retroactively determine it to either be a misdemeanor or a no charge at all, which will have a tremendous benefit."

Those who perhaps made mistakes in their youth.

"You would have to return to the county where your conviction was imposed. And you should contact a criminal attorney or a public defender in that county to see what benefits are available to you," Clark said.

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