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Can I Get a Past California Marijuana Conviction Overturned on Appeal?

With the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in California finally becoming reality since the passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016, many of the hundreds of thousands of people convicted of marijuana crimes over the past several decades in California are wondering about what options they have for appealing those convictions. After all, it seems unfair for a person to face punishment for an act which is now considered legal under state law. While there may be some limited scenarios in which overturning a marijuana conviction on appeal may be the proper way to go, there are other forms of legal relief that may be more suitable for those with past convictions.

Appeal If Your Marijuana Case Was Decided Wrongly

To cut to the chase, the fact that you were convicted for a marijuana offense in the past when the act (e.g. marijuana possession) was illegal but is now legal does not by itself give you the grounds to appeal your case. The government has the right to change criminal laws as it pleases (within constitutional limits) and so the unfortunate fact is that sometimes a person will have to face criminal penalties for an act that others may later do legally when the law has changed


That said, if your marijuana case was wrongly decided against you based on mistakes at trial, then you can pursue your right to appeal within certain time windows. Common reasons to appeal a criminal conviction are improper rulings on evidence, unconstitutional police procedures, mistakes made in selecting the jury, and inadequate assistance of counsel at trial.


An experienced appeals attorney can examine your trial record to determine whether you do indeed have grounds to appeal your marijuana conviction.  

Filing for Proposition 64 Relief

If your conviction for a marijuana offense did not involve mistakes at trial giving you grounds for appeal, you can still pursue legal relief which can mitigate or altogether erase your criminal record for such offenses.


One of the provisions under Proposition 64 gives people who have been convicted of marijuana offenses the right to petition the court that convicted to: 1) reduce felony convictions to misdemeanor convictions, or even to crime at all; and/or 2) have the court reduce misdemeanor convictions to infractions or no crime. By taking this action, a person can limit the lasting effect of a marijuana conviction on their record, such that it will not appear in state background checks nor will a person have to report it to potential employers or others.

Help In Your Criminal Appeal

The Law Office of Corey Evan Parker is focused on the civil and criminal appeals process in Washington and California. If you are considering filing a criminal or civil appeal, feel free to contact Mr. Parker today for a no obligation 30-minute consultation.