As cannabis legalization spreads across the country and the conversation surrounding federal legalization heats up, it must not be forgotten that tens-of-thousands of people are behind bars for marijuana-related offenses. Despite the plant being legalized for recreational sale and consumption, there are so many people imprisoned for what people are now freely doing on the outside.
California, the United States’ quasi-guide on cannabis legalization, is taking steps to rectify that issue.
Announcing that “roughly 60,000 marijuana convictions” were to be dismissed, the Los Angeles Times reported, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said this was part of the state’s continued effort to “undo what some reform advocates consider the damage caused by narcotics enforcement carried out before Californians voted to legalize marijuana.”
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“Over 100,000 Angelenos have been impacted by this war on marijuana after the voters told us they overwhelmingly wanted to stop this,” Gascón continued. “We want to basically erase the harm.”
This movement to dismiss nearly 60,000 marijuana convictions comes on the heels of District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s movement to dump 66,000 marijuana convictions in 2020.
Gascón, who “sought the dismissal of nearly 9,000 felony and misdemeanor marijuana convictions,” while working as San Francisco’s top prosecutor, did not make clear how far back these dismissals reached, but it was reported that he had worked to dismiss cases dating back to the mid-70s also while working in the Bay Area.
The Los Angeles Times also reported that 20,000 of these newly dismissed cases “under Gascón’s Monday order were for felony possession or cultivation of marijuana,” and that “the remainder were misdemeanors filed in jurisdictions that do not have their own city attorney’s offices.”
A breakthrough announcement for the State of California, it will be interesting to see if this type of action takes place in any other states across the country. Legal in just under 20 states across the country, cannabis and the cannabis industry are growing in popularity and it is only right that those with felony or misdemeanor arrests for cannabis-related infractions see their records expunged for what is now legal.
What do you think of LA County’s move to expunge 60,000 marijuana convictions? Let us know in the comments.[Via]