California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today announced a measure that enables people with cannabis-related convictions to obtain an insurance license.
Lara announced the California Department of Insurance will use its discretion in deciding whether to issue licenses to those with cannabis-related convictions.
Lara’s decision is in support of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, approved by voters in 2016.
His action clears obstacles to becoming an agent, broker, or other licensee for those whose past convictions are eligible to be dismissed or reduced under the current law.
“When voters approved Proposition 64, they wanted to clear obstacles for those with prior convictions, and that is what my Department is doing,” Lara said in a statement. “My department is committed to creating opportunity for Californians while protecting consumers from fraud and abuse by agents and brokers.”
Lara has directed the CDI staff to use existing authority to consider whether an applicant’s prior convictions fall under the provisions of Prop 64 when reviewing applications for an agent or broker license.
Prior to the passage of Prop 64, individuals with a cannabis-related conviction may have been denied an agent or broker license. Under Lara’s directive, these individuals will be considered for licensure consistent with the goals of Prop 64, even if the court has not yet granted formal reduction or dismissal of the conviction.
Prop 64 permits an individual previously convicted of specified cannabis-related offenses to petition a court for a reduced conviction or sentence, referred to as redesignation, or to have the prior conviction dismissed and sealed if that offense is no longer deemed to be a crime under current law.
While the courts and counties have taken steps to provide relief under Prop 64 to numerous residents, many people have not yet pursued formal reduction or dismissal of eligible convictions. In support of the spirit of Proposition 64, the CDI’s discretion applies to those eligible individuals who have not been granted relief by the courts, according to Lara.
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