District Attorney Nancy O’Malley of Alameda County, which his home to cities such as Berkeley and Oakland, announced that her office intends to dismiss almost 6,000 marijuana convictions as a new state law legalizes the possession and use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.
Thanks to Proposition 64, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon did the same last month, reports KTVU 2. Prop 64 was passed by California voters in 2016, and along with legalizing recreational marijuana, it includes provisions that allow those with previous marijuana convictions to petition the court to reduce or dismiss old convictions.
O’Malley said that after the law’s approval her office created policies, protocols, and processes to redesignate or dismiss previous marijuana-related convictions.
Since then, O’Malley’s office has worked through multiple petitions to dismiss marijuana-related felony and misdemeanor convictions, and when California’s new marijuana laws went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, her staff began working through the petitions weekly.
O’Malley said, “California is offering a second chance to people convicted of cannabis crimes, from felonies to small infractions, with the opportunity to have their criminal records cleared. We join our state officials and intend to reverse decades of cannabis convictions that can be a barrier for people to gain meaningful employment.”
Between November 2016 and the end of 2017, 609 petitions were scheduled and granted in Alameda County Superior Court, according to O’Malley. The District Attorney’s Office has found roughly 5,900 eligible cases for dismissal.
O’Malley said her office has identified 5,000 persons who suffered from convictions and is working to identify more people who fall within the confines of the law. She said the office will continue to take action toward dismissing the remaining convictions and those who qualify will be notified via mail to the extent that’s possible for the individual.
The San Francisco District Attorney announced similar plans to dismiss prior marijuana cases in January and said their office will review as many as 4,940 felony convictions and an estimated 3,038 misdemeanor convictions.