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Californians are already having their marijuana charges downgraded

(SCPR) "I was in court today [Nov. 10] where a guy had a possession for sale of 35 pounds," said Bruce Margolin, an attorney who specializes in cannabis-related issues. "They wanted to give him a year in jail and three years felony probation. Today, he walked out with a misdemeanor 60 days, with half time." Because of changes to the law, some crimes which were felonies are now considered misdemeanors, and some misdemeanors can be wiped from records completely. And these changes don't just apply to current and future cases, but retroactively as well, meaning that anyone who's been charged with a pot-related crime has a chance to have their record amended. "People with possession for sale, possession with the intent to sell, transportation or giving away more than an ounce, or sale of cannabis, would normally face prison time from three to four years. However, now it's been reduced to six months in jail, maximum, and a $500 fine, or both," said Margolin. Attorneys, including Margolin, have been inundated with calls from clients trying to amend their records. Attorney Eric Shevin said that over the past week he's received "hundreds, literally hundreds of calls." He too has found himself in court since the law passed, adjusting to the new reality: "It's very different than what we've been experiencing, you know, for the last 50 years." Shevin said that he was in court this week with a client who was booked on a marijuana-related charge back in August, before the law changed. "They found the 50 pounds [of marijuana]. He was arrested, taken to jail, bailed out on $100,000. The case was filed as a felony transportation of cannabis case," he said. But since the case was pushed until after the law was changed, it was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. The Drug Policy Alliance, which helped draft Prop 64, has estimated that nearly 11,000 people are arrested in California each year for marijuana-related crimes. The hope among advocates was that the measure would have substantial impact on the lives of people charged with such crimes. And early signs suggest that's what's happening.

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