Los Angeles County has decided that it will dismiss nearly 60,000 cannabis convictions. Announced by District Attorney George Gascón, the policy is in line with California’s 2016 legalization of recreational marijuana.
In addition to releasing individuals incarcerated for possession of a drug that is now legal, the dismissals also aim to reverse the racial injustices of drug laws as many of the cases are those of people of color disproportionately incarcerated for drug offenses.
“Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief,” said Gascón in a press release. “It clears the path for them to find jobs, housing and other services that previously were denied to them because of unjust cannabis laws.”
Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana in California, was specifically written to also help correct previous injustices associated with the criminalization of marijuana. These 60,000 cases bring the total dismissed cannabis cases in Los Angeles County to nearly 125,000.
Lynne Lyman, the former director of the Drug Policy Alliance told The Hill, “Proposition 64 was always about more than legal weed, it was an intentional effort to repair the past harms of the war on drugs and cannabis prohibition, which disproportionately targeted people of color.”