Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has announced that his office—with support from The Social Impact Center—has identified nearly 60,000 cannabis convictions that will be dismissed as part of his ongoing efforts to reverse the injustices of drug laws.
“Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief,” Gascón said. “It clears the path for them to find jobs, housing and other services that previously were denied to them because of unjust cannabis laws.”
Gascón was joined by Felicia Carbajal, executive director and community leader of The Social Impact Center, a nonprofit organization that serves as a bridge between government, grassroots organizations and people in underserved communities; Lynne Lyman, former director of the Drug Policy Alliance; Public Defender Ricardo García and Alternate Public Defender Erika Anzoategui.
“I have made it my life mission to help and support people who have been impacted by the ‘war on drugs,’” Carbajal said. “Giving people with cannabis convictions a new lease on life by expunging the records is something I have worked on for years and I am grateful that we can now make it happen.”
“This is the unfinished work of Proposition 64,” Lyman said. “We created the opportunity for old cannabis convictions to be cleared, but it was up to local district attorneys to actually make it happen. Proposition 64 was always about more than legal weed, it was an intentional effort to repair the past harms of the war on drugs and cannabis prohibition, which disproportionately targeted people of color. I applaud District Attorney Gascón for taking this action to help nearly 60,000 Angelenos have their records fully sealed.”
“District Attorney Gascón has taken another important step toward justice reform. Today’s mass dismissal of cannabis convictions restores dignity and provides new opportunities to those who have been unfairly impacted by outdated, tough-on-crime anti-drug laws. Many are our most vulnerable community members who deserve our care and support,” García said.
In Los Angeles County, roughly 66,000 cannabis convictions were dismissed last year after Assembly Bill 1793 was passed that tasked prosecutors in California with affirmatively reviewing the convictions.
However, the review only covered cases from state Department of Justice data. Further examination of Los Angeles County court records uncovered approximately 58,000 felony and misdemeanor cases dating back more than three decades that are eligible for dismissal.