The passing of California’s Proposition 64 put a smile on millions of faces, but not just because adults could now get high without fear of punitive consequences. The bill, which passed last November, did more than open up a billion-dollar industry to the general public; written into the law was a provision that allows for some people with felony cannabis convictions on their record to petition the court to reduce their offense to a misdemeanor.
First, consider that in the United States many of the people who have served time in jail or prison, were in there for nonviolent drug charges. Then keep in mind that the Golden State is the most populated, containing more people than the 21 least populous states together; it is fair to say that there are thousands of people whose lives have been affected indefinitely by having marijuana charges on their rap sheet.
From Felon to Misdemeanor
A felony on one’s records can severely impact the prospects for one’s life. In the eyes of most employers, a felony is a felony regardless of the circumstances. Even though it is impossible to compare a marijuana conviction to violent crimes, obviously, a case of apples and oranges, all the same it makes looking for a new job, for those that have a felony of any kind on their record, a struggle to get from application to interview. One’s past transgressions related to cannabis can also impede individuals who are in need of loans.
Californian Jay Schlauch, is someone who has been impacted by a possession with intent to distribute charge for nearly a quarter-century, the Associated Press reports. With the passing of Prop 64, Schlauch jumped at the opportunity to better his situation under the new law.
“Why should I be lumped in with, you know, murderers and rapists and people who really deserve to get a felony?” Schlauch said.
The Drug Policy Alliance, an organization who advocates for an end to mandatory minimum sentencing and treatment over jail, has been offering free legal clinics to assist convicts alter their records, according to the article. And, as a result, attorneys who focus on marijuana defense have reported increased interest from Californians with a felony marijuana record.
In the last two decades Jay Schlauch has volunteered his time working with veterans, with disabled children at a martial arts school, the article reports. He also has a degree in nursing—Mr. Schlauch is the farthest thing from a threat to society. At a hearing this winter, he provided letters of endorsement to the court.
“I don’t see any reasonable risk of danger. It seems like he’s entitled,” Judge Martin Herscovitz said. “The petition is granted.”
Schlauch case is not unique. If you are experiencing such circumstances please contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower. We may be able to help you get your sentence reduced.