San Francisco Erases Thousands of Marijuana Convictions


Prosecutors in San Francisco and San Diego have been more proactive, with the two urban areas intending to naturally reject or downsize convictions.

The city had given people with criminal history the chance to have their cases expunged, or charges and sentences reduced immediately after the law legalizing recreational marijuana went into effect January 1. From 2006 to 2015, there were almost 500,000 people arrested for marijuana offenses, a recent Drug Policy Alliance report found.

Different spots have taken the contrary tack.

And in Colorado, it took five years after voters approved recreational marijuana use before the state passed legislation last year that allows people with pot convictions to apply to have their records cleared.

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Thousands of Californians will have marijuana offences wiped from their records now that voters have eliminated criminal penalties, state officials have said. "A misdemeanor or felony conviction can have significant implications for employment, housing and other benefits". Some, like Fresno County, are dealing with them on a case-by-case basis, said Steve E. Wright, the county's assistant district attorney.

As of September 2017, around 5,000 people had applied for a change to their records, according to state data. Around 3,038 misdemeanor convictions dating back to 1975 will be dismissed and sealed automatically, Gascon said.

In San Francisco, Mr. Gascón said he wanted to avoid putting people through a process that he said violates the spirit of legalization.

California produces vast amounts of marijuana and has done so for years. "That means those people who have been most affected by the war on drugs get a little bit of a break", Cohen said. Voters in MA and ME have approved recreational marijuana, though sales have not started in either state. And Rodney Holcombe, a legal fellow at DPA, said that there may be close to 1 million people in the state who have convictions that could now be eligible for relief. In Nevada, Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed enactment a year ago that would have permitted people sentenced having one ounce or less of maryjane to have their convictions abandoned, despite the fact that that is never again a criminal offense.