UPDATE 2019: AB 1793 (Bonta), to automatically expunge or resentence certain past marijuana crimes without requiring the filing of a petition, passed and was signed into law in 2018, and is codified as Ca Health & Safety Code 11361.9.
Even before the law passed, SF District Attorney George Gascon announced he would present over 9,000 past marijuana convictions for resentencing or expungement. San Francisco is moving forward with automatic resentencing, as have other jurisdictions. Los Angeles has announced it will move to expunge 50,000 past convictions, and San Joaquin county estimates 4,000 people will qualify.
Petitioning is no longer required but can be done if desired. Under the new state law, the state Department of Justice has until July 1, 2019 to identify past convictions that are potentially eligible for recall or dismissal of sentence, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation pursuant to Section 11361.8. The DOJ will notify the DAs of all cases in their jurisdiction that are eligible, and the prosecutors have have until July 1, 2020, to review all cases and inform the court and the public defender’s office in their county when they are challenging a particular case.
If the prosecution does not challenge the recall or dismissal of sentence, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation by July 1, 2020, the court shall reduce or dismiss the conviction pursuant to Section 11361.8. The court shall notify the DOJ of the recall or dismissal of sentence, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation and the department shall modify the state summary criminal history information database accordingly.
UPDATE 2018: The state has released information on Prop. 64, including forms to file for sentence reduction in adult and juvenile cases.
Also see a legal memo on the topic from former judge J. Richard Couzens and Justice Tricia A. Bigelow and an analysis by Cal NORML legal committee attorney Heather Burke.
You can file forms yourself or contact a Cal NORML legal committee attorney for legal assistance on sentence reduction or expungement.
Prop. 64 provides for release of offenders via court petition:
(a) A person currently serving a sentence for a conviction, whether by trial or by open or negotiated plea, who would not have been guilty of an offense or who would have been guilty of a lesser offense under the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act had that Act been in effect at the time of the offense may petition for a recall or dismissal of sentence before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in his or her case to request resentencing or dismissal in accordance with Sections 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11362.1, 11362.2, 11362. 3, and 11362. 4 as those sections have been amended or added by this Act.
(1) In exercising its discretion, the court may consider, but shall not be limited to evidence provided for in subdivision (b) of Section 1170.18 ofthe Penal Code.
(2) As used in this section, “unreasonable risk of danger to public safety” has the same meaning as provided in subdivision (c) of Section 1170.18 of the Penal Code.
(c) A person who is serving a sentence and resentenced pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be given credit for any time already served and shall be subject to supervision for one year following completion of his or her time in custody or shall be subject to whatever supervision time he or she would have otherwise been subject to after release, whichever is shorter, unless the court, in its discretion, as part of its resentencing order, releases the person from supervision. Such person is subject to parole supervision under Penal Code Section 3000.08 or post-release community supervision under subdivision (a) of Section 3451 of the Penal Code by the designated agency and the jurisdiction of the court in the county in which the offender is released or resides, or in which an alleged violation of supervision has occurred, for the purpose of hearing petitions to revoke supervision and impose a term of custody.
(d) Under no circumstances may resentencing under this section result in the imposition of a term longer than the original sentence, or the reinstatement of charges dismissed pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement.
(e) A person who has completed his or her sentence for a conviction under Sections 11357, 11358, 11359, and 11360, whether by trial or open or negotiated plea, who would not have been guilty of an offense or who would have been guilty ofa lesser offense under the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act had that Act been in effect at the time of the offense, may file an application before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in his or her case to have the conviction dismissed and sealed because the prior conviction is now legally invalid or redesignated as a misdemeanor or infraction in accordance with Sections 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11362.1, 11362.2, 11362.3, and 11362.4 as those sections have been amended or added by this Act.
(f) The court shall presume the petitioner satisfies the criteria in subdivision (e) unless the party opposing the application proves by clear and convincing evidence that the petitioner does not satisfy the criteria in subdivision (e). Once the applicant satisfies the criteria in subdivision (e), the court shall redesignate the conviction as a misdemeanor or infraction or dismiss and seal the conviction as legally invalid as now established under the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
(g) Unless requested by the applicant, no hearing is necessary to grant or deny an application filed under subdivision (e).
(h) Any felony conviction that is recalled and resentenced under subdivision (b) or designated as a misdemeanor or infraction under subdivision (f) shall be considered a misdemeanor or infraction for all purposes. Any misdemeanor conviction that is recalled and resentenced under subdivision (b) or designated as an infraction under subdivision(f) shall be considered an infraction for all purposes.
(i) If the court that originally sentenced the petitioner is not available, the presiding judge shall designate another judge to rule on the petition or application.
(j) Nothing in this section is intended to diminish or abrogate any rights or remedies otherwise available to the petitioner or applicant.
(k) Nothing in this and related sections is intended to diminish or abrogate the finality of judgments in any case not falling within the purview of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
(l) A resentencing hearing ordered under this act shall constitute a ”post-conviction release proceeding” under paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 28 of Article I of the California
Constitution (Marsy’s Law).
(m) The provisions of this section shall apply equally to juvenile delinquency adjudications and dispositions under Section 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code if the juvenile would not have been guilty of an offense or would have been guilty o f a lesser offense under the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
(l – should be n) The Judicial Council shall promulgate and make available all necessary forms to enable the filing of the petitions and applications provided in this section.