California: County Officials Dismiss Marijuana-Related Convictions

Santa Cruz, CA: The Office of the District Attorney for Santa Cruz County (population: 273,000) has announced its intent to dismiss over 1,100 low-level marijuana convictions dating back to 1969.

“Our office recognized the undue burden that these prior convictions can have on people’s livelihood, both past and present,” Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell said in a prepared release. “The decision to dismiss these cases provides much-needed relief to the non-violent people caught up in the ‘war on drugs’ and level the playing field for people convicted of crimes that are no longer crimes.”

The announcement coincided with a similar declaration by the District Attorney’s Office for Sonoma County (population: 494,000) indicating that it would be dismissing over 2,000 marijuana convictions.

The counties join Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Santa Clara, and other counties in the state that have reviewed and expunged tens of thousands of past cannabis convictions. A state law signed in 2018 requires officials to review and identify past marijuana convictions that may be eligible for dismissal.

For more information, contact California NORML.