Cannabis Case Sealing Progress Announced In California Attorney General Report
July 19, 2023
A recent report from the California State Attorney General’s Office announced the numbers for success according to Proposition 64. According to the Office, state courts successfully granted relief to 89% of cases eligible for recall, dismissal, sealing, or redesignation.
This voter-approved initiative regulates the recreational cannabis industry. In addition, it provides opportunities for individuals convicted of certain cannabis-related offenses to petition for relief. This relief includes those Proposition 64 would have found guilty for lesser offenses had it taken effect at the time.
On September 30, 2018, the Governor signed AB 1793, the Cannabis Conviction: Resentencing Act, into law. It provided an automatic record clearance process. This process had the California Department of Justice review the state’s criminal history database for convictions. The Department checks for records eligible for relief and forwards the information to the appropriate prosecuting agency. The agency reviews and decides whether to challenge the granting of sealing, dismissal, or recall.
The Governor signed AB 1706 on September 18, 2022. This effort meant to ensure fair and expeditious relief processing under Proposition 64. The law required courts to issue an order no later than March 1, 2023, granting relief for all unchallenged cases by July 1, 2020. It also required courts to update their records to reflect these orders and notify the Department of Justice, which had to update the state database by July 1, 2023.
In addition to these requirements, AB 1706 required the state Department of Justice to produce a quarterly report to the legislature updating it on the progress of these implementation efforts. Under this new report, the state’s judicial system reports that it has processed relief for 206,052 cannabis-related cases out of the 227,650 identified by the Department.
According to the report, most counties in the state have made substantial progress in providing the promised relief under Proposition 64 and related bills. As a result, many can expect the public to treat these offenses as if they never occurred. This change means individuals can avoid disclosing employment or tenant screening application records.
As the remaining cases await relief under these efforts, employers should consider how they treat cannabis-related offenses. In many cases, they may choose not to consider these offenses in making employment-related decisions. The best way to get started with such programs is to contact an experienced background check provider. The right provider will assist employers with reviewing hiring policies and offer accurate, timely reports.
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