Thousands Of Californians To Have Their Marijuana Convictions Dismissed

Cannabis PenaltiesSan Francisco city officials announced plans yesterday to begin reviewing and automatically expunging thousands of past marijuana possession convictions.

The District Attorney’s office says that it will review, dismiss, and seal an estimated 3,000 misdemeanor marijuana convictions dating back to 1975. The office also intends to review and resentence many past felony convictions.

Provisions in the state’s 2016 voter-approved marijuana law allow those with past marijuana convictions to petition the court for expungement. However, because this process that is often time consuming and can cost hundreds of dollars in legal fees, San Francisco’s D.A. George Gascón says that his office will instead “wipe out convictions en masse.”

Commenting on the policy change, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement, “This example, one of many across our state, underscores the true promise of Proposition 64 – providing new hope and opportunities to Californians, primarily people of color, whose lives were long ago derailed by a costly, broken and racially discriminatory system of marijuana criminalization.”

NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano concurred, telling reporters: “The stigma associated with a marijuana arrest and criminal conviction is lifelong, and can directly lead to numerous lost opportunities later in life. The San Francisco District Attorney’s office is to be commended for proactively rectifying this situation — one that has disproportionately burdened far too many young people and people of color. Let’s hope other jurisdictions follow San Francisco’s lead in righting the wrongs of cannabis criminalization.”

Perhaps even more importantly, legislation now pending in the California Assembly, AB 1793, seeks to expand this automatic expungement process statewide. If you reside in California, please click here to use NORML’s Action Alert to urge your lawmakers to support this critical legislative effort.

13 thoughts

  1. While Texas is a long way from expunging, we are preventing arrest records in big cities;

    We did it! Bexar County decriminalized marijuana. Possession under 4oz. is now a drug class with no arrest record! This includes the city of San Antonio.

    Harris County which includes Houston began their program to prevent arrest records last year under DA Kim Ogg.

    1. and, Trudeau, better than funding the cartels, if legalization happens, much of that he speaks of will cease to occur!

    1. Nice link, Matt, thanks. While I commend the PRI cabinet member’s suggestion to legalize marijuana, tourism in Cancun and Los Cabos are at risk of violence equivalent to the regions’ ability to grow and export poppies, or sustain labs of meth and fentanyl. Unfortunately, the synthetics are the bigger reason why cartels are extorting Mexican business. Poppies grow better near the resort of Alcapulco, which is still struggling to fill their hotels.

      As whole plant marijuana legalizes and synthetic drugs become more profitable to black markets we are entering living war of Plants v Zombies… where public education about paun management is being targeted from our doctors to our private insurance to facilitate the synthetic markets, both legal and illegal.

      I travel to Mexico during the winter and will be visiting Canada this July. It will be interesting to watch how legal marijuana markets educate the public and protect us from predatory synthetic cartels in and out of our governments.

      1. *pain management
        (“Pawn” management is what happens when we take synthetics…)


    Can we end these legal gang gun tracer programs now and forever?

    One good unintended consequence of decriminalizing marijuana in cities like San Antonio TX is that even though black market cartels can still turn a profit, cop cartels (assassins and thieves with badges) cant plant marijuana on innocent kids to justify killing them. Wish we could say the same about toy guns.

  3. As a result of this major step toward full American marijuana legalization, life has changed for the better for countless people, which is a wonderful thing.

    For those who care when a life is saved, now is the time to celebrate. For those whose hearts are gladdened by good deeds, this is a happy time indeed.

    Many lives have been lost or ruined by marijuana prohibition, and it is a senseless tragedy. To watch these tragedies occurring routinely as a result of institutionalized reefer madness, will strike horror into the heart of any decent person.

    Let us put a full stop to these horrors.

    A disaster averted might just look like another ordinary day, unless you understand that something precious was about to be lost, but was saved instead.

    Lots of people in CA probably feeling that right about now! I will take a hit and get with that vibe. Peace, yall!

  4. They expunge convictions, not arrests. SF does not erase arrest records, only misdemeanor possession convictions. DA Gascon says his office will “wipe out convictions en masse”. The arrest record still stands. Petition the court for sentence reduction for 1st felony under Prop 64, but not 2d or 3d felonies. This discriminates against the elderly.

  5. SFDA Gascon’s move to “wipe out convictions en masse” makes perfect sense as a modest way to make up for widespread negative effects of the weed war in poor communities. Prohibition has been a social negative for decades…why not take the burden off of defendants in the majority of minor possession cases? DAs get the conviction, then they undo it.

  6. This another Great step,in the Right direction. Why should people have to serve,crazy sentences.For smoking or in possesion, of marijuana. The Federal goverment is so Backwards.In the way they class. Different type(s)of drugs. Marijuana,does Not lead to Harder drugs!

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