Despite the fact that minor possession has been a misdemeanor since 1976 (and medical weed has been legal since 1996) between 15,000 and 20,000 Californians are arrested every year for marijuana offenses.
Under Prop 64, which will legalize the recreational use of marijuana, people who've been convicted for felony cultivation (growing more than six plants at a time) will be able to petition for resentencing, to have their felony convictions reclassified as misdemeanors. The courts will be empowered to destroy records of prior convictions, including people convicted for possession without a medical marijuana card.
The measure has broad support, including that of a former LAPD deputy chief. But California Senator Diane Feinstein opposes it, writing, "Not one single person remains in California's prisons solely for simple marijuana possession."
The ballot measure would legalize using, possessing and growing marijuana, with restrictions. Adults could possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and up to eight grams of concentrated marijuana, such as hash. Private individuals could grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes, and greater quantities would be subject to state licensing and regulation.
If passed, the measure could provide a lighter or expunged record for people previously arrested for misdemeanors for possessing small amounts of marijuana, growing marijuana or for using weed without a medical marijuana card.
California Proposition 64, Marijuana Legalization (2016) [Ballotpedia]
California to Vote On Wiping Old Weed Arrests
[Meredith Rutland Bauer/Motherboard]