Los Angeles County will dismiss another 58,000 marijuana convictions dating back more than 30 years, District Attorney George Gascón announced Monday.
The move will bring the total number of felony and misdemeanor marijuana convictions that have been dismissed since last year to 124,000. According to CNN, an additional 66,000 cases for dismissal in February 2020 were the result of a state follow-up review of country court records.
“Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief,” Gascón said Monday. “It clears the path for them to find jobs, housing, and other services that previously were denied to them because of unjust cannabis laws.”
The Social Impact Center, a nonprofit focused on underrepresented populations, helped identify the latest batch of cases to dismiss. Gascón added the dismissals clear the path for those convicted of marijuana offenses to get jobs, housing, and other services that they were previously excluded from participating in.
The dismissals come after the passage of two state laws that made it possible. The legalization of recreational marijuana was passed in 2016. The passing of AB 1793 required the state’s Justice Department to review the state’s criminal records and find marijuana convictions that can be downgraded to misdemeanors or expunged.
Because a person can have more than one conviction, it’s unclear how many residents are affected by the dismissals. The 66,000 dismissals last year covered about 53,000 people.
In New York, citizens’ criminal records with certain marijuana convictions are now automatically expunged as part of a 2019 state law. The state legalized recreational marijuana, although the state is still setting up its business and tax structure. Some states have enacted laws to ensure that some marijuana businesses are owned and operated by BIPOC to make up for past wrongs.
Marijuana has gained more popularity in recent years and is now recreationally legal in 18 states, although some are still setting up laws and regulations.