George Gascón, Los Angeles County District Attorney recently released a statement that his office would dismiss nearly 60,000 cannabis convictions. His office said the move was part of ongoing efforts to reverse the injustice caused due to a lack of clarity surrounding drug laws.
Gascón also said in the release, “Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief.”
This move will also clear the path for the people to find housing, jobs, and other services that they had been denied due to unjust cannabis laws. This recent move brings the total count of total cannabis cases dismissed in Los Angeles County to nearly 125,000.
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Gascón was also the co-author of Proposition 64 that earned cannabis a legal status in California in 2016. The former director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Lynne Lyman said that the recent move is more of an unfinished work of Proposition 64.
He said that they have created an opportunity for old cannabis convictions to be cleared. However, the ultimate decision was left to the local district attorney to make it happen.
Lyman further specified that Proposition 64 has always been more than just fetching weed a legal status. He said it was an intentional effort to repair the past damage of the war on cannabis prohibition and drugs. This unfairly and disproportionately targeted people of color.
The move to legalize cannabis made a buzz in the business world when Amazon made an official announcement that it was lobbying Congress to fetch a legal status to cannabis.
The company in June cited that marijuana laws have disproportionately affected people of color. Hence, it decided to dismiss marijuana use as a criterion while hiring for jobs.
The initiative is a part of Assembly Bill 1793 that was passed in 2018 after the legalization of recreational marijuana. The bill directed the prosecutors to search the state Department of Justice data proactively to identify past convictions that are now eligible for re-designation, sealing, dismissal or recall.
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When Los Angeles County examined its own records, it uncovered approximately 58,000 felony and misdemeanor cases identified from the past 30 years. These are now being dismissed in 2021.
This announcement was a part of the “Week of Action and Awareness (WOAA),” which was previously known as National Expungement Week; the event starts from Sep 26 and concludes on Oct 3.