After recreational marijuana was legalized in California, prosecutors in Los Angeles County expected a “tsunami” of petitions from people looking to clear their old criminal records.
But the process turned out to be cumbersome and difficult to navigate, so most people didn’t even try. L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey said, “Frankly, very few people took the legal action required to clear their records. And yet, the will of the voters was clear.”
In a move to carry out that will, prosecutors in L.A. and San Joaquin counties announced plans to automatically dismiss or reduce some 54,000 marijuana-related convictions, part of a growing movement to offer a clean slate to Californians hamstrung by their past now that pot is legal.
It’s unclear how far back those convictions go, but many involve possessing a small amount of marijuana and could date back decades. Prosecutors and public defenders are still working out how to notify people of the changes to their records.
As the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana has gained wider acceptance across the nation, lawmakers in a number of states have been wrestling with how to remove marijuana convictions from people’s records.
Read more via the LA Times.