In an effort to address the disenfranchisement of thousands within the community, the office of District Attorney George Gascon announced on Monday, September 27, that it intends to drop nearly 60,000 marijuana convictions.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that the move to dismiss will include eligible misdemeanor and felony charges for marijuana. Some of the cases included are 30 or more years old before recreational marijuana was decriminalized in the State of California.
In a statement, the DA’s office said, “Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief.”
District Attorney Gascon also said that this move would allow those who have had convictions in the past to get jobs, find housing, and other services that they couldn’t access before due to previous convictions. In many cases, these convictions were what many felt to be unjust.
Last year, former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey had more than 66,000 convictions overturned by using California’s Department of Justice data files. Gascon told reporters that by utilizing Los Angeles County records, his office was able to find additional cases, including some DUI cases, dismissed.
The people of California voted in 2016 to decriminalize recreational marijuana. In 2019 the law was changed to decriminalize possession. California is just one of 18 states that have moved to legalize recreational marijuana. For example, prosecutors in some of those states, like New York, have moved to dismiss such charges and expunge previous charges from their records.