San Francisco residents who have a criminal record for marijuana offenses are about to get a clean slate. According to The Hill, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said the city would expunge decades of misdemeanor and felony convictions. He noted that 3,000 misdemeanor convictions dating back to 1975 would be dismissed and sealed. According to the San Fransico Chronicle, the district attorney's office will also "review and re-sentence thousands of felony marijuana cases."
California legalized marijuana for recreational use after residents voted in favor of Proposition 64 in November 2016.
Currently, residents with criminal records stemming from marijuana convictions can petition the courts to have the records expunged. An estimated 5,000 people have filed petitions since the law was passed.
Petitioning the courts can be expensive and time-consuming, which is why Gascón wants to "wipe out the convictions en-masse."
Rather than leaving it up to individuals to petition the courts — which is time consuming and can cost hundreds of dollars in attorney fees — Gascón said San Francisco prosecutors will review and wipe out convictions en masse.
The move will help many city residents who have had a hard time getting jobs or have been denied government benefits based on their criminal records.
Other cities in California are considering similar proposals, and one California assemblyman is working on a proposal to automatically expunge the records across the state. The bill could be costly, as there are millions of convictions on the books, and many older records have not been digitized.
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