NEW Bill Requires Review of State Records to Assist in Resentencing, Dismissing and/or Redesignating Cannabis Convictions (AB-1793)

On September 30, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown approved AB-1793.[1] AB-1793 legislation makes changes to the “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act” (AUMA), previously enacted on November 8, 2016.

Under the AUMA (and depending on the age of the defendant at the time of the offense and the circumstances of the offense) a person was permitted to petition for recall or dismissal of a sentence, dismissal and sealing of a conviction, or redesignation of a conviction of an offense for which a lesser offense or no offense would be imposed under the AUMA.

Assembly Bill 1793 adds Section 11361.9 to the Health and Safety Code. Health and Safety Code section 11361.9 requires the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to review the records in the state summary criminal history information database and identify past convictions potentially eligible for relief under the AUMA before July 1, 2019.

The DOJ is then required to notify the prosecution of all cases in their jurisdiction eligible for relief. The prosecution must then identify and inform the court and the public defender’s office whether or not they are challenging particular petitions by July 1, 2020.

If the public defender’s office receives notice of a particular petition that is being challenged, the public defender’s office must make a reasonable effort to contact and inform the defendant.

If the prosecution fails to challenge the relief by July 1, 2020, then the court must reduce or dismiss the conviction pursuant to Section 11361.8.

Once the relief has been granted by the court, the court must then notify the DOJ and the DOJ must modify the state summary criminal history information database accordingly.

By enacting AB-1793, it is clear that the California Legislature is attempting to limit the negative impact cannabis convictions are having on defendant’s records.

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[1] Visit the following link for the full text: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB1793

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