CURRENT MISSION: OPERATION EXPUNGEMENT
Prop 64 legalized cannabis use for adults in California, making it acceptable under the law (within certain guidelines) to grow, purchase, and consume marijuana. This was a major victory in the effort to end the destructive War on Drugs which has wreaked havoc on so many lives, particularly minority groups. But what if you have a prior marijuana conviction on your record? Written into Prop 64 was a provision that allowed folks to retroactively reclassify or clear their record. That means that if you got busted for a misdemeanor such as possession of marijuana or cultivation of marijuana, you may be eligible to have it resentenced, reclassified, or removed from your record completely. There are nearly 1,000,000 people in California eligible to have their criminal record changed--that’s about one in every 40 people in the state!
Leaders in some cities, such as San Francisco and San Diego, are stating that their city will do the leg work to go through the records, find who’s eligible, and make the change to their citizens’ records. But in most places in California, the individual with the offense on their record needs to take action to have their record cleared.
We’ve listed the basic steps to complete the process below, but we encourage you to look for resources that can help you through this process.
Get a copy of your criminal record or “RAP” sheet. You can get this from the court that you were convicted in OR if you have multiple convictions from multiple cities or counties and you don’t want to visit each individual court, you can find a Department of Justice location near you where you can request your entire California RAP sheet be mailed to you (you’ll need to get fingerprinted and there will be a fee charged at the location). To find a location for this, visit: https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations
Complete the application for reclassification. You can find the forms for each county here: http://www.drugpolicy.org/california-county-information
Make Your Reclassification Packets. (You’ll need to make unique packets for each conviction that you want reclassified.) Each packet contains the reclassification forms and a copy of your criminal record. For each conviction, create one packet for the District Attorney AND one packet for the Superior Court where you were convicted. It is also important that you keep one of each packet for your own records.
File your reclassification. You may need to file in person. Contact information and forms for the Superior Courts and the District Attorneys for each county are listed here: http://www.drugpolicy.org/california-county-information
Wait for Approval. You will either be notified by mail or you’ll need to return to the court to find out if your application for reclassification was approved, depending on the county you’re applying in. If you dispute the results from the court, you are entitled to a hearing.
We understand that there are a lot of steps and processes to complete--it may not seem like its worth it to go through all of the rigamarole but any criminal record could negatively affect you at some point in your life. Taking action to clear your record is not only a win for you personally, it’s a win toward ending this heinous “War on Drugs.”