State officials in Los Angeles say the people who are slated to benefit from the dismissal of approximately 66,000 past pot convictions include Latinos (45%), African American (32%), 20% are whites, and 3% consist of others racial groups.
The cases that were dismissed include 62,000 marijuana felony convictions that go back several decades, and 4,000 misdemeanor charges for possession, Los Angeles County District Attorney, Jackie Lacey said.
When California voters legalized adult-use marijuana after they approved Proposition 64 in November 2016, they passed the dismissal of simple marijuana crimes. The law also included provisions providing for the expungement of past convictions and the reduction of felonies to misdemeanors. In 2018, the state legislators approved another measure AB1793, which required the Justice Department to go through prior convictions in California and pinpoint marijuana convictions that are eligible for dismissal, expungement, or reduction to misdemeanors.
People of color are the ones that have mostly felt the impact of the fight against drugs, and the move to dismiss the convictions brings much-needed relief to the communities.
Acey further said that she is privileged to be part of a team that is committed to finding innovative solutions and implementing meaningful criminal justice reforms that provide the people of LA with the support they need to rebuild their much-deserved life.
Pinpointing an estimated number of 200,000 cases within the state was not an easy task. For the records to be amended, the convicts were supposed to file their petitions as well as hire the services of a lawyer to help and speed up the process.
Code for America has offered all the 50 state district attorneys with their technology, Clear My Record.
The officials said that the Code for America technology would help in dismissing more than 85,000 cannabis convictions in five counties within LA, and they include San Francisco, Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Costa Rica.
In a statement, Code for America senior program director of criminal justice Evonne Silva said that it is possible to automate record clearance at scale, which would help right the wrongs of failed prohibition.
The computer technology, Clear My Record, identifies the qualified cases and automatically fills out the documents to file with the courts. The technology can also analyze more than 10,000 marijuana convictions at a time when checking for eligibility, instead of having county employees go through individual records.
The decision on whether to dismiss the sentences or oppose a reduction in convictions, is due in July, and the district attorneys are expected to present their decision.
Prosecutors in other cities such as Baltimore, Seattle, Chicago and other cities said they would also clear simple marijuana convictions.
This move to use technology to speed up the process of expunging past convinctions is likely to be welcomed by the entire cannabis industry, including companies like MCTC Holdings Inc. (OTC: MCTC), who see thes justice reforms as long overdue.
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