SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco’s district attorney’s office will dismiss some 9,000 marijuana convictions with the use of technology to identify cases made eligible through the passage of California’s law allowing use of recreational marijuana.
District Attorney George Gascón and tech-based civil rights advocacy group Code for America hosted a news conference at the Hall of Justice Monday to announce what was billed as a “unprecedented development” for marijuana-related convictions: the use of computer-based algorithms to identify eligible cases.READ MORE: Suspect In Shopping Center Parking Lot Shootout With Milpitas Police Dies Of Wounds
Gascón’s office is the first California prosecutor’s office to announce full compliance in clearing criminal records required when voters approved the broad legalization of pot. Gascón announced last year that he would retroactively apply the proposition to misdemeanor and felony marijuana convictions dating back to 1975.
“If you are the mom or dad who wants to participate in the kids’ school activities and they’re being told you can’t go to that field trip because you have a felony conviction because you sold a nickel bag in the Tenderloin 10 years ago, that’s the people that we care about,” said Gascón.
The use of technology helps expedite the retroactive dismissal and seal of marijuana-related convictions following California’s passage in 2016 of Proposition 64 to legalize the possession and recreational use of marijuana for adults over 21.READ MORE: Rain Helps Wash Away Fears Of Another Devastating Wildfire For Santa Rosa Couple
Prop 64 wiped out convictions but provided no mechanism for how to identify cases. Many county prosecutors say they don’t have the resources to sift through tens of thousands of cases.
Some defendants hired attorneys, but most of the estimated 200,000 California cases remain untouched.
Code for America says it is using its technology to help other prosecutors and is working with other prosecutors.
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