- The latest inverse faults are in addition to the nearly 66,000 identified by District Attorney George Gascon’s predecessor in 2020.
- Prop 64 became law in California in 2016 to legalize recreational marijuana in the country’s most populous state.
- Eighteen states and Washington, DC have legalized recreational marijuana.
This week, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon’s office announced that it is dismissing nearly 60,000 marijuana-related convictions before California votes to legalize the drug.
The nation’s largest prosecutor’s office and advocates are calling on other jurisdictions to do the same and remove the culprits who may be blocking people from participating in today’s society.
“If you have a felony, you usually can’t attend after-school events with your kids,” Gascon told USA Today. “The level of restrictions is very important. Many landlords will not rent the house to you. Many employers will not rent you.”
Following the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016 that legalized recreational cannabis in the country’s most populous state, the convictions are being overturned in addition to the nearly 66,000 identified in 2020 by Gascon’s predecessor, Jackie Lacey. Last year, an assembly bill tasked prosecutors to review past sentences.
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Thousands of convictions were approved this week, which were waived in a preliminary sweep, said Felicia Carbajal, executive director of the Social Impact Center, which relied on records from the California Department of Justice, which asked the county court to review records. partnered with Gascon’s office for
And, she said, it is likely that many of the previous culprits are yet to be identified.
This is a national issue. In Arizona, advocates are criticizing the low numbers and, in New Jersey, courts are trying to spread awareness so people can check their records to see if they qualify to overturn a previous cannabis conviction.
Carbajal told USA Today, “We need to build groundwork with everyday people checking in, getting their rap sheets, making sure they’re not really relying on government agencies to say, ‘Hey, we Your record has been deleted.” “Because the reality is that it must have fallen out of the way for a number of reasons.”
Prop 64 became law in California in 2016, legalizing recreational cannabis.
Following California’s legalization of cannabis, many former felonies deserved less punishment—including Ingrid Archie of Los Angeles, who was one of the first to file a petition after Prop 64 became law in the state.
Archie, now 40, told USA Today that he was convicted of a felony, including marijuana possession, in his early 20s, and that he missed job opportunities because of it. Now, Archie hopes that his experience will serve as an example to others affected by such beliefs.
“I want to be able to show my community that, ‘Look, I know him, and I know that if he did that, I could go and apply for it.’ And people will take the necessary steps to clear their records,” Archie said.
“It’s so important that we found all the people who desperately need a noose around their neck. And when I say ‘noop’, I mean, the odds that a person can’t find a job. arise when a person cannot find housing, when a person cannot find the resources they need due to constraints created by archaic laws targeting the poor in our community,” Archie told a press conference on Monday. said during
Gascon said the nearly three-decade-old record would be completely sealed. The announcement comes during Action and Awareness Week, formerly known as National Removal Week.
Arizona, New York among states working to remove former convicts
Eighteen states and Washington, DC have legalized recreational marijuana. Gascon and Carbajal told USA Today they hope other jurisdictions will begin talks about how to fix damages caused to people with former convictions for actions that are now legal.
“One thing we need to focus on nationally as we move forward and see more states create regulated markets is to have these conversations about the impact on communities that are left out of the conversation. Gone,” said Carbajal of the social impact center, a non-profit organization that acts as a bridge between the government, grassroots organizations and underserved communities.
She said she hopes Los Angeles and other locations will ensure that the various departments communicate with each other to find all eligible ex-convicts, that the process will be streamlined by using technology and that jurisdictions are accountable. will appoint third party auditors for
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“What are they going to do to double check it?” Carbajal asked.
In New York, where the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act decriminalized marijuana, previous conviction records are eligible for eviction, and the state has two years to find them all and complete eviction.
That’s not fast enough for many New Yorkers whose lives are being affected by his record.
State Sen. Jeremy Cooney earlier this month partnered with advocacy groups including Just Case, Law NY, Legal Aid Society and others to host a community-focused marijuana records removal clinic to help residents who have access to their records. If concerned, they can potentially speak to legal experts to expedite. eviction process.
Like in Los Angeles, courts in New York will not necessarily automatically notify people if their records have been deleted, so a potential prior conviction must take steps to find out on their own, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, part of the USA Today Network, reported.
In Arizona, Proposition 207 legalized the use and possession of cannabis, but hundreds of thousands of people eligible for removal of former convicts have yet to petition for eviction.
In Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and is the nation’s fourth most populous nation, more than 3,600 petitions have been filed for the abolition of the marijuana penalty since it became available in July. The Maricopa County Superior Court noted that an average of 506 petitions are filed each week, The Arizona Republic of USA Today Network reported.
Since July, when New Jersey also implemented its eviction efforts, the state has eliminated more than 362,000 cannabis convictions, why was it reported. Now, the courts in New Jersey are trying to raise more awareness.
“We welcome every victory that removes barriers for our communities. We recognize the ongoing work to ensure that the courts complete this process,” Carbajal said at the press conference. “We hope this serves as an inspiration to other cities and community leaders across the country, who dare to question, to truly seek and move forward with avenues of justice.”
Contributions: Kristal Hayes, USA Today; Isabella Martillaro, The Arizona Republic; Adria R. Walker, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle; The Associated Press