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Pardons for pot: California may erase thousands of marijuana convictions

Californians convicted of a weed-related crime in the past may soon be able to have their record wiped clean.

The new push to pardon your pot convictions could streamline the process to do away with old marijuana cases.

The bill awaiting the governor’s signature would entitle people with certain cannabis-related convictions to get those crimes reduced or expunged.

California could be offering a second chance to people convicted of marijuana-related crimes.

“As long as it’s not a violent crime, yeah,” said a Santa Barbara woman named Hillary.

“Like drug bust type of stuff, then I don’t think it’s ok,” said another Santa Barbara man.

The legislature approved a bill this week that would work in tandem with Proposition 64, which legalized pot for adult use in 2016.

“I was shocked for people who have suffered in the past because of the laws not catching up to where we are now,” said Faith Strader, Manager of The Canopy.

The Health and Wellness Center is the only medicinal storefront in Santa Barbara.

“As a legal conforming business here, we follow all the rules and regulations and so we are going to support whatever the new laws are we’re always going to operate under those,” said Strader.

However, The Canopy Manager recognizes that some folks may feel frustrated by the bill now sitting on Governor Brown’s desk.

“I’m sure a lot of people that have a history with it are going to have mixed feelings about that. Probably has cost them a lot of money and time in the past,” said Strader.

Those struggles have some lawmakers calling this a social justice and fairness issue.

“Individuals are having a hard time getting housing, finding jobs because of these convictions on their record that don’t even need to be there anymore, that California says are no longer convictions that should be on your record,” said Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D – Alameda.

Eligible Californians will be notified by email or mail.

If this becomes law it will take effect in January and gives the Department of Justice until July of 2019 to sift through it’s database.

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