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Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said on Monday his office will dismiss nearly 60,000 cannabis convictions.
The move will seal the records of those convicted of marijuana-related offenses before cannabis became legal in the state, which advocates say will help people in undeserved communities trying to make a living for themselves.
“Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief,” Gascon said in a news release. “It clears the path for them to find jobs, housing and other services that previously were denied to them because of unjust cannabis laws.”
Gascon, former district attorney of San Francisco from 2011-2019, was one of the co-authors of Proposition 64, which California voters backed in 2016 and made cannabis legal for recreational use.
In Los Angeles County last year, 66,000 cases were dismissed. Counting the new set announced by Gascon on Monday, nearly 125,000 cases in Los Angeles County will be dismissed.
The press release said that Gascon's office was adamant about sealing the records to prevent employment offices from discriminating against those trying to find employment, preventing them from receiving educational opportunities, or affecting their immigration status.
Lynne Lyman, the former director of the Drug Policy Alliance, praised Gascon's decision to dismiss and seal the cases.
"This is the unfinished work of Proposition 64,” Lyman said. “We created the opportunity for old cannabis convictions to be cleared, but it was up to local district attorneys to actually make it happen. Proposition 64 was always about more than legal weed, it was an intentional effort to repair the past harms of the war on drugs and cannabis prohibition, which disproportionately targeted people of color. I applaud District Attorney Gascón for taking this action to help nearly 60,000 Angelenos have their records fully sealed.”
The decision comes as part of National Expungement Week, which focuses on helping Californians get their criminal records expunged. The week falls Sept. 26-Oct. 3.
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Original Author: Misty Severi
Original Location: LA County district attorney to dismiss 60,000 cannabis convictions