San Francisco will clear the convictions of thousands of people who were charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana dating back to 1975.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s office said it will retroactively apply Proposition 64, which this year legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults who are 21 and older. California voters approved the measure in 2016, and the law took effect this year.
The District Attorney’s office said it will review, recall and re-sentence as many as 4,940 felony marijuana convictions, in addition to dismissing 3,038 misdemeanors.
“While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead to undo the damage that this country’s disastrous, failed drug war has had on our nation and on communities of color in particular,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement on Wednesday.
Proposition 64 includes a provision allowing people convicted of marijuana-related crimes to petition to have their convictions cleared or reduced, but Gascón said San Francisco will begin the process without people having to take any action.
“While this relief is already available pursuant to Proposition 64 for anyone with a conviction, it requires that they know it is available and to retain an attorney to file the expungement paperwork,” Gascón said in a statement.
“A criminal conviction can be a barrier to employment, housing and other benefits, so instead of waiting for the community to take action, we’re taking action for the community.”