San Francisco is going to be the first city in the nation to expunge decades worth of marijuana-related convictions following the legalization of recreational cannabis.
District Attorney George Gascon announced Monday that he's presenting a collection of 9,362 eligible cases dating back to 1975 for resentencing or complete expungement by a county judge in the coming weeks.
As the Chronicle reports, the move comes almost a year after Gascon announced a partnership with government efficiency nonprofit Code for America to use an algorithm to identify such felony cases. The tricky part of the search, which began last May, has been in identifying felony cases that were not tied to offenders with violent felonies on their record. Registered sex offenders, violent felons, and those with certain other types of convictions aren't eligible for resentencing or expungement under Prop. 64.
As Jennifer Pahlka, executive director of Code for America, told the Chronicle last year, "Our vision is to help government clear all eligible criminal records starting with convictions under Prop. 64."
In recent years, multiple studies (including one by the ACLU about SF) have suggested that marijuana convictions disproportionately affect the records of people of color.
Says Gascon in a statement to the Chronicle, "I hope that our success with Code for America can act as a catalyst for other leaders looking to engage in similar innovative and out-of-the-box methods to reform and rethink what our criminal justice system looks like."
Photo by Yash Lucid