San Francisco DA's Office To Dismiss Thousands Of Pot Convictions

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San Francisco Attorney General George Gascón announced on Wednesday that the city will automatically apply California's marijuana legalization laws retroactively.

Recreational marijuana was legalized in the state on New Year's Day.

District Attorney George Gascon announced Wednesday that his office will dismiss almost 3,000 misdemeanor cases and review almost 5,000 felony cases for possible action. The measure also allows people convicted of marijuana possession crimes eliminated by Proposition 64 to petition the court to have those convictions expunged from their records as long as the person does not pose a risk to public safety.

Other places have taken the opposite tack.

Prosecutors in San Francisco and San Diego have been more proactive, with the two urban areas intending to naturally reject or downsize convictions. From 2006 to 2015, there were almost 500,000 people arrested for marijuana offenses, a recent Drug Policy Alliance report found.

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The individuals who contend against erasing criminal records say people who damaged the law should live with the outcomes, paying little mind to ensuing lawful changes. "A misdemeanor or felony conviction can have significant implications for employment, housing and other benefits".

"While this relief is already available pursuant to Proposition 64 for anyone with a conviction, it requires that they know it is available and to retain an attorney to file the expungement paperwork", Gascón said.

This will affect more than 3,000 misdemeanor convictions. However, after so few eligible people applied, Gascon said he decided to make the move himself. "That means those people who have been most affected by the war on drugs get a little bit of a break", Cohen said. The recreational use of marijuana in California is now allowed for those 21 and older and are permitted the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis.

California, where pot shops opened around the express this month, was the 6th state to permit recreational cannabis, following Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Nevada.

When marijuana arrests skyrocketed in 2000, the percentage of black people arrested rose from 34 to 41 percent of the total, according to the city's Cannabis Equity Report.