Today, on the 31st of January, San Francisco’s district attorney, George Gascon, said his office would be automatically erasing all misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession. Some of these roughly 3,000 cases date back 40 years.
The same law that legalized recreational marijuana in California this year also allowed for the state to examine and expunge low-level offenses retroactively. Although this process can take time and be costly, our city decided to jump to action and begin forgiving old convictions. San Diego county will also move forward with reviewing cases.
In addition to the erasure of marijuana related misdemeanors, these two counties will work independently to examine felonies to determine if they should be downgraded to misdemeanors. San Diego has announced it has records of 4,700 cases of both misdemeanors and felonies, all of which will be either cleared or reduced.
This is a big win for San Francisco residents, some of whom will be relieved to have their “criminal” records wiped clean. While California was certainly not the first state to pass legislation in favor of recreational marijuana, it is now at the forefront of relieving people convicted of related offenses in the past. The other states that have legalized the use and sale of recreational marijuana have yet to address the important issue of past convictions and their pardon.
What many people don’t realize or understand is that even those convicted with a minor offense can later be denied professional positions and licenses, loans, and housing opportunities. Many voters and legislators who favored these retroactive annulments argued the injustice of forcing people to continue living with the restrictions and consequences of convictions while the crime they committed is no longer considered as such.
San Francisco and San Diego are being especially proactive, while other California counties are reviewing cases individually, which will inevitably take more time and cost more money. We here at Foggy Daze are proud of our city and its initiative and integrity. Another step in the right direction! Head over to our menu to check out a few ways to celebrate 😉