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The list of states allowing the adult recreational use of marijuana is growing. Meaning, people can use the drug without fear of prosecution in such states. With more than half of Americans in favor of either decriminalization and/or legalization, you can safely bet that the current trend is not going to change.

If you are one of the thousands of Americans whose only conviction on their criminal record is marijuana, it’s possible you are wondering what legalization will do for you. Aside from not having to worry about a repeat of history, in some states, who loosened their stance on the drug, individuals with previous convictions have some recourse. In fact, in states like California, people with felony “pot” convictions can petition the courts to have the sentence downgraded to a misdemeanor.


Sealing Your Record

When Californians voted to legalize adult cannabis use last November, they were also in favor of allowing some residents to clean up their criminal record, The Huffington Post reports. It’s not just allowing the changing of felonies to misdemeanors; people with a cannabis-related crime can have it changed to an infraction, and in some cases, the charged can be erased entirely from one’s record.

“We call it reparative justice: repairing the harms caused by the war on drugs,” says Eunisses Hernandez of the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit that helped write California Proposition 64.

Having a criminal record, even a charge for something as benign as marijuana, can seriously impact the course of one’s life. Such charges make it difficult to find employment and places to live; some landlords will not rent to people with past convictions. Allowing people to petition the courts, can result in drastically improving the quality of one’s life. California is not alone, the states listed below all have legislation allowing for reducing marijuana-related crimes, including:

  • Colorado
  • Maryland
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon


Orange County Criminal Attorney

Were you charged with a crime? If so, please reach out to Ronald G. Brower. With over thirty years of experience, attorney Brower can provide you the best defense. Please contact our office today.

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