LA County Wipes Out 60 Years of Pot Convictions

Judge approves erasure of 66K convictions
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2020 1:12 AM CST
LA County Wipes 66K Pot Convictions
"We believe it is the largest effort in California to wipe out old criminal convictions in a single court motion," Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey says.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey says she has helped correct the "inequity of the past" by wiping out 66,000 marijuana convictions. A motion signed by LA County Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta this week erases 62,000 felony convictions from as far back as 1961, when possession of even small amounts of marijuana was a felony in California, and around 4,000 misdemeanor convictions, CBS reports. Those eligible to have their convictions for selling, cultivating, and transporting pot erased include people under 21 or over 50, people who have not been convicted of other crimes in the last 10 years, and those who have successfully completed probation.

Reform advocates say minorities were disproportionately targeted by law enforcement, leading to convictions that made it harder for people from those communities to find jobs or housing, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some 22,000 of those cleared this week no longer have any felony convictions on their records. The dismissal of convictions "will bring much-needed relief to communities of color that disproportionately suffered the unjust consequences of our nation’s drug laws," Lacey said in a statement. Nonprofit tech group Code for America helped LA County authorities identify cases eligible to be dismissed under the California law that legalized marijuana in 2016. (Read more marijuana stories.)

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