Criminal Lawyer in Sacramento Explains California Proposition 64
The passing of Proposition 64 in November of 2016 establishes the framework for the recreational sale of cannabis in the state of California. It also reduces a number of cannabis-related penalties, degrading many criminal offenses related to marijuana from felonies to misdemeanors.
What does this mean for the thousands of individuals currently incarcerated in the state of California for felony cannabis crimes? It means that you should peak with a criminal lawyer in Sacramento immediately if you have been charged or convicted of felony cannabis-related crimes.
Before the passing of Prop 64, approximately 11,000 felony arrests took place in California annually. With the new law, some felonies are downgraded to misdemeanors and some misdemeanors have been downgraded to infractions, or no crime/punishment at all.
Prop 64 actually has language to “[a]uthorize courts to resentence persons who are currently serving a sentence for offense for which the penalty is reduced by the Act, so long as the person does not pose a risk to public safety, and to re-designate or dismiss such offenses from the criminal records of persons who have completed their sentences as set forth in this Act.”
It is estimated that 6,000 individuals currently incarcerated could have reduced sentences and even more could be eligible for release. There may be as many as one million people who could be eligible to have their marijuana-related records expunged. Given these large numbers, it’s important you speak with a criminal lawyer in Sacramento immediately to discuss your options.
What is Now Legal?
The following list explains what cannabis-related actions are now completely legal under Prop 64. Past convictions of these crimes are eligible for complete expungement from an individual’s record:
- The possession, processing transportation, purchase, obtaining, or the giving away of cannabis to other individuals 21 years or older of up to one ounce of cannabis or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis
- The possession, planting, cultivating, harvesting, drying or processing of no more than 6 living cannabis plants and the possession of those plants
- Smoking and ingesting of cannabis products
- The possession, transportation, purchase, obtaining, use, manufacturing, or gifting of cannabis accessories to other adults 21 years or older
If someone you know has been charged with committing one of the crimes above, speak with a criminal lawyer in Sacramento today.
Changes for Misdemeanor v.s. Felony Cannabis Crimes
The following list contains laws that previously were considered felony crimes but are now misdemeanors.
- Possession of up to one ounce of cannabis or 4 grams of concentrated cannabis by an individual who is at least 18 but not yet 21 is now a misdemeanor – this crime carries a maximum of 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of $500. There are exceptions. If an individual has prior convictions for specific offenses or violated specific environmental laws during the offense, there is a chance of a felony offense.
- Planting, cultivating, harvesting, drying or processing more than the maximum six cannabis plants by an individual 18 years or older is now a misdemeanor. This crime carries a maximum of 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of $500. Again there are exceptions regarding prior convictions and environmental offenses in conjunction with this offense that may elevate the crime to a felony.
- The transportation or importation into California or the selling, furnishing, administering, gifting, or offering to do so of one ounces or more of cannabis by an individual 18 years or older is now a misdemeanor. This crime is punishable by a maximum of 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of $500. Again the exceptions in 1b and 2b apply.
The California Judicial Council posted online forms for individuals convicted of or defending crimes relating to cannabis that have been downgraded by Prop 64. Adults and juveniles can petition for re-sentencing, reduced charges, or to have their records expunged and sealed. Expunging of records could improve individual’s job prospects and reinstate their gun rights.
Individuals currently defending cannabis charges that previously would have held heavy jail or probation times may be facing far less severe penalties.
For example, an individual presented to court the day after Prop 64 passed was facing charges for possession of 35 pounds for sale. He was facing a year in jail and three years felony probation. Instead, he received a misdemeanor 60 days and half the time.
Individuals who are awaiting trial or are currently serving sentences do not need to fill out any forms. They may orally petition for a Proposition 64 sentence reduction orally at their next court date.
As the Act has only very recently been instated, it is for the courts to determine exactly how the law will be interpreted. It will probably be several months to a couple years before a consistent, predictable pattern of change can be seen. This may make individuals currently going through the courts nervous and uncertain. The best way to be sure your case has the best result possible and the most advantageous interpretation of this new law is to consult a knowledgeable and experienced criminal lawyer in Sacramento who will vigorously defend you.
Talk to a Criminal Lawyer in Sacramento For Legal Help On Cannabis Charges
These change can mean great things for a lot of those who have been charged with felony cannabis crimes. If you are one of them, speak with a criminal lawyer in Sacramento for legal advice. You may be able to have your record expunged and get on the path to a better life. Call us at (916) 441-3500 for a consultation.