Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said on Monday that his office had identified nearly 60,000 cannabis convictions that will be dismissed under criminal justice provisions of the state’s cannabis legalization law. The charges were identified with support from The Social Impact Center, a nonprofit organization that serves as a bridge between government, grassroots organizations, and people in underserved communities.
Gascón was the co-author of the cannabis legalization bill approved by voters in 2016.
“Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief. It clears the path for them to find jobs, housing and other services that previously were denied to them because of unjust cannabis laws.” — Gascón in a press release
About 66,000 cannabis convictions were dismissed in Los Angeles County last year after the passage of Assembly Bill 1793 which tasked prosecutors in California with affirmatively reviewing the convictions. However, that review only covered cases from state Department of Justice data and, upon further examination of county court records, another 58,000 felony and misdemeanor cases dating back more than three decades were deemed eligible for dismissal, the DA’s Office said. In all, nearly 125,000 cannabis cases are being dismissed in Los Angeles County.
Lynne Lyman, former director of the Drug Policy Alliance, described the action as “the unfinished work of Proposition 64.”
“Proposition 64 was always about more than legal weed,” she said in a statement. “It was an intentional effort to repair the past harms of the War on Drugs and cannabis prohibition, which disproportionately targeted people of color.”
The announcement comes during the “Week of Action and Awareness (WOAA)” — formerly known as National Expungement Week — which takes place from September 26 to October 3 and is organized by National Expungement Works.
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