Thousands of Pot-Related Criminal Records to Be Wiped Clean in San Francisco

San Francisco will take the lead in expunging or reducing marijuana-related convictions going back to 1975, the district attorney’s office announced Wednesday.

The D.A.’s Office says it will automatically review 5,000 felony cases and 3,000 misdemeanors that were handed down before the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2016. They will be sealed or removed, Dist. Atty. George Gascón said, clearing criminal records that currently hinder everything from employment to housing prospects.

Under Proposition 64, individuals already have a right to petition the courts for expungement or reversal of marijuana convictions on their records, but many remain unaware that the provision exists. "So instead of waiting for the community to take action, we're taking action for the community," said Gascón.

San Francisco’s move could be the beginning of a larger, statewide push to give Proposition 64’s conviction erasure measures more steam. A bill proposed by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) would require courts to automatically expunge records eligible under Proposition 64, rather than leaving it up to the convicts or their attorneys.

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