San Francisco to wipe some marijuana convictions from records
According to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, the city will retroactively apply California’s marijuana legalization laws to past criminal cases, which will expunge or reduce misdemeanor and felony convictions that go back decades. Gascón announced the move in late January and it will help thousands of people with marijuana convictions that might have been affected when trying to find jobs and trying to obtain government benefits. Under Proposition 64, which was passed by voters in November 2016, people with past marijuana convictions that would have been lesser crimes, or no crime at all, are able to petition a court to recall or dismiss their cases. Gascón claims that San Francisco prosecutors will review and wipe out convictions all together, instead of leaving it up to individuals to petition the courts, because it is time consuming and costly. Gascón stated,
Instead of waiting for people to petition — for the community to come out — we have decided that we will do so ourselves. We believe it is the right thing to do. We believe it is the just thing to do.
Gascón claims that his office will dismiss and seal more than 3,000 misdemeanor marijuana convictions in the city dating back to 1975. Prosecutors will be reviewing and, if needed, re-sentence 4,940 felony marijuana cases. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, about 5,000 people statewide have petitioned courts to have their marijuana convictions expunged since Prop. 64 took effect. We will have to wait and see if other jurisdictions decide to follow Gascón’s lead and do the same.