On Marijuana Erasures, Sonoma County Reverses Course

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced Monday that her office would begin automatically reviewing past marijuana convictions for expungement under the provisions of Proposition 64. Monday’s announcement is a reversal for Ravitch who said last month that her office would not be clearing past convictions absent a petition from the affected the parties.

Initially, Ravitch said the department lacked the resources to start unilaterally reviewing its estimated 3,000 marijuana convictions. After input from the public, she changed her mind.

“What I kept hearing is so many people would not go through that process, either because they didn’t understand it or they didn’t have the money, or they just didn’t have the wherewithal to follow through. It’s still a resource issue, but we’ve juggled our resources and are doing what we can to make this a more seamless process.”

In the wake of Proposition 64’s passage, a number of counties -- including Alameda, San Diego, and San Francisco -- have said they will automatically review and expunge all eligible marijuana-related convictions. There have been some holdouts including Los Angeles County. Last month, District Attorney Jackie Lacey said L.A. will not be reviewing past pot cases without a petition.