Los Angeles County To Clear Nearly 66,000 Cannabis Convictions

Tens of thousands of cannabis convictions in Los Angeles County eligible for relief under Prop 64 are set to be cleared in the coming months.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Code for America (CFA) on Wednesday announced that nearly 66,000 cannabis convictions would be dismissed by July 1 as part of their cutting-edge partnership.

The action signals the completion of CFA’s five-county Clear My Record pilot to dismiss eligible cannabis convictions under Prop 64.

Clear My Record launched in 2016 as an opt-in service for people wanting record clearance after CFA realized that the government did not have the proper tools to support reentry systems for decriminalization efforts.

( Image: Code For America )

Sacramento, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and San Francisco were included in the pilot, which CFA says will help reduce or dismiss more than 85,000 eligible cannabis convictions.

Lacey says that the dismissal of tens of thousands of old cannabis-related convictions in the county will bring needed relief for communities of color that have suffered unjust, disproportionate consequences of the nation’s drug laws.

Prosecutors this week requested that a Los Angeles Superior Court dismiss 62,000 felony cannabis convictions dating back to 1961, and the District Attorney’s Office asked for the dismissal of approximately 4,000 additional misdemeanor cannabis possession cases filed in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Torrance, Pasadena, Inglewood, Burbank, Santa Monica, Hawthorne, Redondo Beach, and Hermosa Beach.

According to CFA, an estimated 53,000 people (32 percent Black or African American, 20 percent White, 45 percent Latino, and 3 percent other or unknown) will receive conviction relief from the partnership.

“Today’s action marks the completion of our California Clear My Record pilot, through which we will have helped to dismiss and seal more than 85,000 marijuana convictions across the state,” says CFA Senior Program Director of Criminal Justice Evonne Silva. “This is a clear demonstration that automatic record clearance is possible at scale and can help to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs.”

Under Prop 64, convictions for cannabis cultivation, possession of cannabis for sale, cannabis sales, and transport of cannabis are eligible for resentencing, and misdemeanor cannabis possession cases can be dismissed.

To ensure the maximum amount of dismissals, District Attorney Lacey used additional criteria, which went beyond the parameters of the law and included people over the age of 50 who have not had a felony conviction in the past decade or fully completed their probation for cannabis convictions.

To expedite the identification of eligible convictions, CFA created a unique algorithm that can analyze thousands of records in seconds, saving valuable time and resources by eliminating the need for District Attorney’s Office staff to review records individually.

Earlier this year, CFA launched the Clear My Record Application and Implementation Blueprint, which is open source and available at no cost for all California counties.

All counties in California now have access to the Clear My Record platform where District Attorney’s Offices must review eligible Prop 64 convictions by July 1, 2020, as required by AB 1793, which passed in 2018.

People who would like to find out whether their record has been cleared can contact the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office by phone at (323) 760-6763 or visit the website.