A California Superior Court Judge last month reduced about 26,000 felony cannabis charges and dismissed about 1,000 more misdemeanor charges, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The relief came more than a year after the San Diego County district attorney’s office submitted a list of eligible cases as part of a state law requiring prosecutors to find cases that can be dropped or reduced under the adult-use legalization law.
Proposition 64, approved by voters in 2016, required the state Department of Justice and prosecutors to identify and review all eligible cases and submit the list to courts by July 1, 2020. In 2018, then-Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a measure to streamline that process. District Attorney Summer Stephan had submitted the cases to the court in February 2020, but the pandemic caused a near-shutdown of all of the courts in California which caused the delay.
San Diego County Superior Court spokeswoman Emily Cox told the Times that it may take some time for individual court records to reflect the changes.
Since the passage of the reforms, several California cities and counties have reduced or expunged cannabis-related criminal records. Sonoma County expunged 2,700 such cases last June, Santa Clara County dismissed more than 11,500 cases last April, Los Angeles reduced 62,000 felonies and expunged 4,000 misdemeanors in February 2020. In 2019, San Francisco worked with Code for America to identify and expunge more than 9,300 such cases as far back as 1975.
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