California lawmakers passed a bill that provides a legal framework to wipe out previous cannabis convictions.
The state’s Senate passed AB 1793, a bill that would force California’s Department of Justice to review the records of cannabis convictions that are eligible for “recall or dismissal of sentence, dismissal and sealing, or re-designation” under current cannabis laws.
Advocates across the country have pushed to wipe away cannabis convictions as more states begin to legalise or decriminalise the drug.
Despite the state’s relatively permissive laws, a Drug Policy Alliance study found that nearly 500,000 Californians were arrested on cannabis charges between 2006 and 2015. California first legalised medicinal cannabis in 1996 and passed a proposition legalising recreational use in 2016.
There are more than 218,000 convictions that could be potentially wiped out or downgraded under the new law, according to CNN.
If Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signs the bill into law, state officials will have until July 1, 2019, to complete a list of eligible cases for recall. Prosecutors will have a year from that date to decide which cases they will challenge.