Nearly 1,000,000 Californians have a felony due to a marijuana conviction. Now, because of new state policies that took effect January 1, these people will be able to remove marijuana convictions from their records.
The new law, Prop 64, not only OK'd possession for people 21 and older but also allows anyone to apply to have their past marijuana-related offenses reduced or expunged completely. And roughly one million Californians are eligible, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
Clean slates means individuals will regain the ability to vote and will no longer have employment opportunities derailed simply for checking 'yes' when applications ask about past felony convictions.
The change particularly affects African-Americans in California, who were five times as likely to get arrested for a marijuana felony than white offenders, and thus disproportionately saddled with the lifelong constraints that come with a criminal record.
"It really kind of affected me," said Rayshon Williams, who's now eligible to get one of his felony convictions reduced. "The whole time, they're not gonna hire you because they see that 'F' on your record."