More Than 50K Marijuana Convictions To Be Dismissed in LA County

In Summary

Thousands of marijuana convictions dating back 30 years will be dismissed in Los Angeles County now that marijuana is legal in the state. 

The Los Angeles County District Attorney said about 58,000 marijuana convictions dating back decades will be dismissed.  

This comes as the result of the state legalizing marijuana for recreational use in 2016. According to CNN, the dismissal of these convictions will bring the number of felony and misdemeanor marijuana convictions qualified for dismissal in the county to about 124,000 since last year; 66,000 were previously identified for clearance in February. 

RELATED: Senate Democrats Unveil Draft Bill to Legalize Marijuana Nationally 

“Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief,” District Attorney George 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.”  

The Social Impact Center helped the county identify the batch of cases to be dismissed. The center’s executive director said this is her purpose. “I have made it my life mission to help and support people who have been impacted by the ‘war on drugs,'” Felicia 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.”  

RELATED: WADA Re-Examining Cannabis Policy After Sha’Carri Richardson Fallout 

Marijuana arrests and convictions for years have disproportionately impacted Black people. According to the American Civil Liberties Union’s report A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform, in every state Black people are arrested at higher rates than white people for marijuana possession.  

The report also notes Black people are 3.64 times more likely than white people to be arrested for possession, and the increasing number of states legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana has not reduced the racial disparities.   

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.  

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