San Francisco plans to wipe out thousands of pot convictions

SF applying marijuana legalization law retroactively, wiping old convictions off books

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco will retroactively apply California's new recreational marijuana laws to criminal cases of the past.

Gascón confirmed in a series of tweets, that the city plans to review, recall and resentence almost 5,000 felony marijuana convictions, in addition to "dismissing and sealing" more than 3,000 misdemeanor sentences.

The city of San Francisco is taking a major step in rectifying the failed "war on drugs" that has disproportionately targeted black people.

Proposition 64 was passed in November of 2016 that legalized the use and personal growth of marijuana.

California voters approved recreational adult use in 2016 and stores selling the drug opened their doors at the start of January.

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Thousands of Californians' marijuana convictions are being automatically dismissed by a top prosecutor under the state's new legal cannabis system, and thousands more could have convictions or punishments reduced.

3,038 misdemeanors will immediately be dismissed, and as many as 4,900 felony marijuana charges could possibly be reduced and resentenced. The presence of a conviction on one's criminal record can block a person from employment, housing, student loans, or voting, so clearing these records can remove major obstacles from a former convict's life.

"This isn't just an urgent issue of social justice here in California, it's a model for the rest of the nation", said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who applauded Gascon's decision.

Great news for potheads, at least those in - you knew it - San Francisco. In San Francisco, the divide is even more extreme, with people of color four times as likely to be busted for pot than white people. In San Francisco, African Americans were four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. Thousands of other felony cases will additionally be reviewed.

The Drug Policy Alliance said there have been 500,000 arrests for marijuana offenses in California in the past 10 years, and it estimates that up to a million people have reviewable convictions on their records.

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