Los Angeles DA proceeds to dismiss almost 60,000 cannabis convictions

Los Angeles DA proceeds to dismiss almost 60,000 cannabis convictions

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Los Angeles County will discharge approximately 58,000 cannabis-related convictions spanning more than three decades, according to a county district attorney. . 

Expungements have been triggered by the state’s legalization of recreational cannabis, which occurred with the passing of Proposition 64 – the Adult Use of Marijuana Act – on November 8, 2016.

“Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief,” District Attorney George Gascón said on Monday, September 27.

“It clears the path for them to find jobs, housing and other services that previously were denied to them because of unjust cannabis laws.”

Examination of county court records led to identification of cannabis-related convictions

A statement issued by Gascón’s office revealed how almost 60,000 cannabis convictions were identified following close examination of county court records. In February of last year, close to 66,000 convictions were identified for dismissal. 

However, the previously dismissed cases were only determined following an examination of state Department of Justice data. The most recent cases were pinpointed by a local non-profit organization known as the “Social Impact Center.”

“I have made it my life mission to help and support people who have been impacted by the ‘war on drugs,'” Social Impact Center Executive Director, Felicia Carbajal, told CNN reporters. “Giving people with cannabis convictions a new lease on life by expunging the records is something I have worked on for years and I am grateful that we can now make it happen.”

California’s cannabis legalization measure set the groundwork for record expungement

The November 2016 passage of voter-approved Proposition 64 led to the legalization of recreational cannabis in California. As per the proposition’s passage, state residents were able to file a petition with the judicial system to have their old cannabis convictions expunged. Since legalization occurred, the state has generated $2.8 billion in cannabis sales revenue.

Two years after legalization occurred, the state Legislature approved AB 1793. This particular law made it compulsory for the state Department of Justice to analyze California’s crime records and ascertain which cannabis convictions were eligible for expungement or, at the very least, to be reduced to misdemeanors.

AB 1793 gave command to county prosecutors, of whom were instructed to analyze the list of convictions and confirm which dismissals would be suitable. The law resulted in almost 66,000 cases being dismissed across Los Angeles County a decision that was announced in February 2020.