Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced today that his office will automatically dismiss nearly 60,000 past cannabis convictions, as part of the ongoing effort to remediate the harm done by the War on Drugs.

Gascón’s move follows the first wave of expungements carried out by his predecessor, Jackie Lacey, who dismissed 66,000 marijuana-related convictions last year.

Today’s announcement means that Los Angeles County has dismissed a total of roughly 125,000 past cannabis convictions. The expungements come roughly five years after California voters legalized the adult use of marijuana in Nov. 2016.

“Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief,” Gascón said. “It clears the path for them to find jobs, housing and other services that previously were denied to them because of unjust cannabis laws.”

Related

Expungement: What does it mean and how do I get one?

Focus on expungement this week

Gascón’s announcement came as part of the Week of Action and Awareness, formerly known as National Expungement Week, which takes place from September 26 to October 3.

The week is organized by ​​National Expungement Works, a coalition of grassroots organizers from across the country who advocate for access to record relief and wraparound services that go beyond record clearance. 

Positive fallout from 2018 state law

Today’s action came partly as a result of Assembly Bill 1793, which was adopted and signed into law by former Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018. AB 1793 allowed people with prior California cannabis convictions to have those convictions automatically dismissed, depending on the type of the prior conviction.

Lacey’s office dismissed 66,000 convictions in Feb. 2020, but Gascón assigned staff members to dig deeper. The 2020 cases came from a review of California Department of Justice data. Gascón’s staff examined Los Angeles County court records, and were able to identify 58,000 felony and misdemeanor cases dating back more than three decades that were eligible for dismissal.

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Bruce Barcott

Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

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