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Los Angeles County to dismiss nearly 60,000 marijuana convictions

District Attorney George Gascon announced Monday that Los Angeles County will dismiss nearly 60,000 marijuana convictions for cases dating back as far as three decades. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
District Attorney George Gascon announced Monday that Los Angeles County will dismiss nearly 60,000 marijuana convictions for cases dating back as far as three decades. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon on Monday announced his office would move to dismiss nearly 60,000 marijuana convictions.

The move comes after tens of thousands of marijuana convictions were dismissed last year under a measure that tasked prosecutors with reviewing convictions. Gascon's office said further examination showed approximately 58,000 felony and misdemeanor cases dating back more than three decades that were also eligible for dismissal.

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"Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long need relief," Gascon 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."

Approximately 20,000 of the convictions expected to be dismissed under the order Monday were for felony possession or cultivation of marijuana, Los Angeles County district attorney's office spokeswoman Jean Guccione told The Los Angeles Times.

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The remainder were misdemeanors filed in jurisdictions that do not have their own city attorney's offices.

Former District Attorney Jackie Lacey dismissed 66,000 marijuana convictions that took place before California voters passed Proposition 64 in 2016, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

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Felicia Carabal, executive director of Los Angeles-based non-profit community center the Social Impact Center, said the organization helped the county identify the discrepancy in how it handled the case expungements as it initially relied solely on California Department of Justice records to identify cases that would qualify for relief.

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"I have made it my life mission to help and support people who have been impacted by the 'war on drugs,'" 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."

Gascon has also announced plans for prosecutors to work with the public defender's office to seek a "blanket" court order to seal records of the convictions for thousands of defendants affected by the cases being dismissed.

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