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California may ease the burden of marijuana convictions

After the passing of Prop 64 in California, it may be possible for those with convictions related to marijuana use to be reduced or eliminated. There have been more than 4,000 people who have petitioned the courts asking for leniency. By offering to reduce or eliminate convictions for marijuana, it may make it easier for individuals to find work or otherwise live a higher quality of life.

There have also been concerns that old marijuana laws were causing hardships for minorities. In 2015, it was discovered that 77 percent of those taken into custody on marijuana charges in Oakland were African-American. Overall, 500,000 people in the state had been taken into custody for crime related to marijuana from 2006 to 2015. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is one of nine states that have programs designed to reduce the impact of previous marijuana convictions.


However, not everyone agrees that marijuana should be legalized or made widely available. In 73 percent of counties and cities in California, commercial cannabis is banned. However, marijuana is set to become legal at the state level for recreational use starting on Jan. 1, 2018. It is important to point out that it is still illegal for use on the federal level.

If a person has been convicted of drug possession or similar offenses, that person may face significant penalties. They may include jail time, prison time or a fine. Probation or community service may also be part of a sentence for drug crimes. An attorney may be able to create defenses to the charge that may result in a plea or an acquittal. For instance, it may be possible to argue that an individual didn’t knowingly possess a controlled substance or didn’t intend to sell or distribute it.

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.