Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said today that his office would dismiss nearly 60,000 cannabis convictions. In a news release, Gascón’s office said the move was part of “ongoing efforts to reverse the injustices of drug laws.”
Los Angeles Moving Forward
Gascón announced that his office would expunge nearly 60,000 cannabis convictions as part of his ongoing efforts to reverse the injustices of drug laws. This move comes with support from The Social Impact Center.
“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.”
Several officials joined Gascón during this announcement. This includes Felicia Carbajal, executive director and community leader of The Social Impact Center. Lynne Lyman, former director of the Drug Policy Alliance, also joined the conversation. Finally, Public Defender Ricardo García and Alternate Public Defender Erika Anzoategui.
“I have made it my life mission to help and support people who the ‘war has impacted on drugs,'” Carbajal said. “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.”
Correcting the Past
As the co-author of Proposition 64, the 2016 measure that made cannabis legal in California. District Attorney Gascón has been at the forefront in eliminating prior cannabis convictions. Last year, Los Angeles County dismissed nearly 66,000 cannabis convictions following the passing of AB 1793.
However, the review only covered cases from state Department of Justice data. Further examination of Los Angeles County court records uncovered approximately 58,000 felony and misdemeanor cases.
In total, Los Angeles County is in the process of dismissing nearly 125,000 cannabis cases. The latest batch of cases eligible for dismissal could come as a surprise to people. Many believed their convictions were already dismissed last year or were not aware they were eligible for resentencing.
There is currently no law requiring prosecutors to take further action on the cannabis convictions. District Attorney Gascón wanted to ensure by sealing their records, it would no longer hamper their ability to obtaining employment. This would also prevent individuals from affecting their immigration status or receiving educational opportunities.
The announcement comes as part of the Week of Action and Awareness (WOAA). This event was formerly known as National Expungement Week, which takes place from September 26 to October 3.