Yesterday, District Attorney George Gascón announced that the San Francisco District Attorney's Office will be applying Prop 64 retroactively to misdemeanor and felony convictions dating back to 1975. Last month I penned in a blog, that under Prop 64, individuals convicted of misdemeanors and felonies for marijuana offenses were eligible for resentencing, reclassification or dismissal upon filing of a petition to the original sentencing judge. However, in a bold move, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office has committed to review, recall and resentence up to 4,940 felony marijuana convictions and dismiss and seal 3,038 misdemeanors.
According to District Attorney Gascón, "While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead to undo the damage that this country's disastrous, failed drug war has had on our nation and on communities of color in particular. Long ago we lost our ability to distinguish the dangerous from the nuisance, and it has broken our pocket books, the fabric of our communities, and we are no safer for it. While this relief is already available pursuant to Proposition 64 for anyone with a conviction, it requires that they know it is available and to retain an attorney to file the expungement paperwork. A criminal conviction can be a barrier to employment, housing and other benefits, so instead of waiting for the community to take action, we're taking action for the community."
Well done DA Gascón!!! I commend you and the San Francisco DA's Office for taking the lead and can only hope that the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office and Jackie Lacey follow suit. The DA's office estimates that in California between 1915 and 2016, California law enforcement made 2,756,778 cannabis arrests. According to the Los Angeles Superior Court, Proposition 64 Data Summary Report, from November 2016 - September 2017, LA County had 530 adults petition for resentencing and/or reclassification of marijuana convictions. Of the 530, 350 were for resentencing and 180 were reclassification applications. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) reports to date only 4,885 Californians have petitioned state courts for resentencing or reclassification.
As a citizen of the beautiful state of California, an advocate for the cannabis industry and a woman of color, the War on Drugs has left our society with a lot of wrongs to right. If you have a marijuana conviction and would like more info on where to start or need help preparing your petition or application for reclassification, email me at email@example.com. I am committed to doing my part to assist those that have been wronged by an unjust criminal justice system and victims of disparate sentencing guidelines. Let me help you begin the work to get your life back.