Attorney General Calls on Counties to Prioritize Marijuana Expungement

California Attorney General Rob Bonta is calling on county prosecutors to prioritize the expungement of past marijuana convictions and expedite the release of necessary information to superior courts to clear more criminal records.

One of the lesser-known provisions of Prop 64 was the ability to reduce or expunge past marijuana convictions. Relatively few people had taken advantage of this opportunity when, in 2018, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1793, authored by then Assemblyman Rob Bonta. 

Under AB 1793, the Department of Justice would review all past marijuana convictions in California and send petitions for expungement or reduced sentencing to counties’ district attorneys. This eliminated individuals’ need to initiate action themselves.

The deadline for prosecutors to review eligible cases and decide whether to challenge them was last July. But some prosecutors still haven’t provided necessary information to the courts, according to the attorney general’s office.

“I urge counties to prioritize processing their records so that these Californians can finally get the relief they deserve,” Bonta said in a statement. “My team is available as a resource, and we won't stop working until every Californian eligible for relief under AB 1793 is experiencing the law’s intended benefits. 

While some prosecutors may be lagging, overall, California counties have done a tremendous job clearing individuals’ marijuana records. As of March 2021, a total of 140,000 convictions had been reduced or dismissed by counties.