SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California courts are changing marijuana charges and working to comply with the new laws created by Proposition 64. One of the provisions that takes effect immediately is the decriminalization of certain pot charges, which is having a dramatic impact on hundreds of lives.
“All this really happened unexpectedly,” said Ken Marsullo, “it really hasn’t been easy the last few months.”
Marsullo worked at a Stockton dispensary for several years.
“We do nothing but provide medicine for medicinal cannabis patients,” he explained.
In August Marsullo was checking on the shop after the burglar alarms went off.
“Law enforcement was there and accused me of cultivation, which I had nothing to do with,” said Marsullo.
The establishment, Collective 1950, was operating in a gray area of the law. Marsullo, who has a clean record, was now facing a felony.
“Closes a lot of doors and forever impacts them and it could take a lifetime to try and undo that,” explained Attorney Allen Sawyer.
Sawyer represents Marsullo. He says a felony charge could mean thousands of dollars in fines and potential jail time.
“It so dramatically impacts them,” said Sawyer.
But with the passing of Prop. 64, Marsullo is now looking at misdemeanor charges.
“They’re not required to report that on job applications. It’s a lot easier to get an expungement. It’s a lot easier to move forward,” said Sawyer.
Under the new law, cultivation is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 and a maximum of six months in jail.
“If that is the worst that would happen based on what we do, then that’s a victory,” said Marsullo.
Jurisdictions across the state are having to take another look at people convicted of marijuana related crimes and people with pending charges.
“Whatever was charged as a felony and should be a misdemeanor, we were reducing them to misdemeanors as they come along,” said Steve Grippi, the Deputy District Attorney in Sacramento County.
Sacramento has about 75 of these cases. San Joaquin has dozens as well.
People who’ve already been convicted of a marijuana related crime can petition and make a motion to have their convictions undone, which can take time.