San Francisco Expunges More Than 9,000 Marijuana Convictions

Some convictions date back to 1975.

Since recreational cannabis became legal in California in 2017, city governments across the state initiated the process of expunging the records of prior convictions. San Francisco is the first to make good on that promise.

“It was the morally right thing to do,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón told the Los Angeles Times. “If you have a felony conviction, you are automatically excluded in so many ways from participating in your community.”

According to NPR, “Gascón said his office would expunge 9,362 felony and misdemeanor cases. That includes 1,230 his office had already cleared. Before the city started to comb through records to find those eligible to be cleared, only 23 people had petitioned the city to do something about their convictions. That’s because the process was tedious, Gascón told NPR’s Ari Shapiro.”

“You have to hire an attorney. You have to petition the court. You have to come for a hearing,” Gascón said. “It’s a very expensive and very cumbersome process. And the reality is that the majority of the people that were punished and were the ones that suffered in this war on marijuana, war on drugs nationally, were people that can ill afford to pay an attorney.”

You can read more here.