The Ninth Circuit has held that the reduction of a California possession for sale of marijuana conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor under Prop 64 (the California marijuana legalization law) does not change that the conviction is an aggravated felony for immigration purposes, as the reduction does not alter the elements of the offense. Unfortunately, the court engaged in an unnecessary analysis of whether Prop 64’s criminal mechanisms are based on rehabilitative grounds or legal errors. This is unfortunate because it calls into question whether dismissals for “legal invalidity” of misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions (as opposed to reductions of felony marijuana convictions to misdemeanors) will be recognized under the immigration laws.

The full text of Prado v. Barr can be found here: