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L.A. County To Dismiss Nearly 60,000 Past Marijuana Convictions

L.A. County District Attorney, George Gascon, moved to dismiss nearly 60,000 marijuana convictions.

Image Credit: Wikipedia/Dan Vacek

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon announced last Monday, September 27th, the move to dismiss nearly 60,000 marijuana convictions. Gascon aims to raise awareness to citizens who were convicted prior to the passage of Proposition 64, as they are eligible for expungement. Proposition 64 legalized recreational cannabis use in California in 2016.

After Proposition 64 became law, many officials, George Gascon included, began to fight for those who were unjustly convicted for possession of marijuana. “Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief,” Gascon stated on Monday. “It clears the path for them to find jobs, housing, and other services that were previously denied to them because of unjust cannabis laws.”

Citizens who were unjustly convicted for marijuana possession face all kinds of barriers in building their futures. That’s why, as the surge for the nationwide legalization of Cannabis gains momentum, George Gascon’s office is pushing to expunge citizens of their convictions. As awareness continues to spread throughout California, more states are following suit.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Tony Webster

For example, Arizona and New York are both trying to dismiss marijuana convictions that occurred prior to legalization. In Arizona, Proposition 207 legalized the use and possession of cannabis, but hundreds of thousands have not yet filed for expungement; this is why Gascon addressed his push for dismissal on The Week of Action and Awareness, formerly known as National Expungement Week. His goal is to make people aware of the opportunity for conviction dismissal, so they can have a second chance at life.

Ingrid Archie of Los Angeles was one of the first Californians to file a petition for expungement and wants to share her story with those who need to hear it. She wants her community to be able to say “look, I know her, and I know that if she did it I can go and apply for it too.”

New Jersey has expunged a significant 362,000 marijuana convictions. As of now, 18 states in the United States have legalized recreational marijuana use. Benefits of medicinal marijuana include reductions in pain, anxiety, and heart disease. Users have also reported feeling more connected to the world around them.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Tony Webster

In the last decade, recreational consumption of cannabis has become mainstream as the medicinal benefits of Cannabis are brought to the surface. The controversial plant, also known as Marijuana, Mary Jane, or the devil’s lettuce, has been used for different purposes in all kinds of societies throughout time. Some indigenous cultures refer to cannabis as “the nectar of the Gods,” though it has been illegal in Western society since the passing of the 1964 Controlled Substances Act.

Although Cannabis has a complicated history, its growing legalization is beginning to make things less complicated: those holding past convictions can now hope for a clean slate. Thanks to public officials such as District Attorney George Gascon, the future looks brighter for many.

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