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California: Sonoma County District Attorney To Vacate Thousands Of Past Marijuana Convictions

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 6, 2018

    The District Attorney’s Office for Sonoma County, California (population 502,000) is directing staff to review and vacate thousands of past marijuana convictions.

    County officials estimate that an estimated 3,000 cases are eligible for either a sentencing reduction or expungement.

    The Sonoma County D.A.’s actions follow those of district attorneys for Alameda County, San Diego County, and San Francisco — each of which have moved to pro-actively review and dismiss thousands of past marijuana-related convictions.

    Provisions in the state’s 2016 voter-approved marijuana law allow those with past marijuana convictions to petition the court for expungement. Legislation is pending in the California Assembly, AB 1793, to make this process automatic for anyone with an eligible past cannabis conviction.

    Last month, Seattle city officials publicly announced plans to similarly review and vacate past cannabis convictions. Days later, newly elected Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner announced that his office would cease prosecuting marijuana possession offense violations.

    8 responses to “California: Sonoma County District Attorney To Vacate Thousands Of Past Marijuana Convictions”

    1. Mark Mitcham says:

      I like to try to put myself in the shoes of such a person, in such a situation, with a marijuana conviction; I can easily imagine their sense of oppression and injustice. Then, I imagine them getting the news: your conviction will be expunged. Here comes Freedom! Oh joy!

      What satisfaction, to think that, through the efforts of activists, and the integrity and votes of decent and compassionate citizens, such a good deed is being done, for so many deserving people.

      Well done all, and thank you.

      • Julian says:

        I built a self employed career despite a marijuana “deferred adjudication.” The corrupt county said they would not keep a criminal record but then unconstitutionally published every mugshot they ever made to google. I never paid to expunge, calling their bluff, and learned to add constructive links to my business name to recover my reputation… as if taking the blame for my little sister’s weed required more punishment. I’ve had clients with big contracts run background checks on me and it never seemed to stall or cancel a job: We convince clients of our integrity with our experience and knowledge of a trade… which matters more than a past marijuana possession to most people.

        Today I look at that mug shot like a badge of honor. It certainly made a marijuana reform advocate out of me.

        But It’s not lost on me that not everyone is willing to be self employed and own their own network. Drug testing and arrest records has always been a compromise to personal freedom that too many Americans are too willing to give in to.

        There’s a simple test of competance and function… walk the line, flash a light in the pupils and stand on one leg. If we can do that, we can work. If a client or employer wants my piss or a nonviolent arrest record I might just piss on their floor and tell them to have a nice day.

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          I got off light, probably my white privilege. (Not justifying that.) But what injustices we face, it does tend to make for some pissed off and highly motivated activists, eventually!

    2. Evening Bud says:

      More great news!

    3. Daniel Berryman says:

      As Neil Armstrong once said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Applied to this situation (weed), many people are working together to make yet another giant leap! It’s happening more-and-more each day. Let’s keep working together to eradicate the outdated laws of prohibition.

    4. TheOracle says:

      I want to see this kind of expunging, vacating of criminal records in Pennsylvania, and Philly is a good place to start.

      Pennsylvania wants to privatize its liquor system, and since the politicians are mostly dumb, lazy plagiarizers who went to New York state’s web site and copied their medical marijuana law and a panel has recommended to the legislature that dried buds be legalized in order to be vaporized, despite the fact that they can also be smoked, now is the time for the Pennsylvania’s lazy, dumb plagiarizers to go to Washington state’s web site and copy what they did to privatize liquor and legalize cannabis. Then they just do Find Replace and change Washington to Pennsylvania, and then they’ve got tons of money streaming in regularly. The career bureaucrats and technocrats(state employees) can easily implement it.

      Hey dumb, lazy plagiarizing politicians of Pennsylvania, gambling revenues aren’t there, and Republicans do not want an extraction tax on shale, so here you go, cannabis revenues are your answer. Pennsylvanians’ money is just as good in New Jersey or Delaware or Massachusetts as anybody else’s. Keep the money in state.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/06/30/two-years-after-liquor-privatization-booze-in-washington-state-costs-more/?utm_term=.d56f30f058bd

      https://lcb.wa.gov/mj2015/faqs_i-502

    5. Eric Owens Sr says:

      Legalization of cannabis & expungement of past convictions should go hand and hand. Glad to see this for those people.

    6. Of the 21 million Americans who suffer Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity disorder, about 18 million who survive to adulthood, switch from Schedule II amphetamines to Schedule I cannabis, because cannabis is more effective at treating their symptoms and. has fewer side effects. By systematically lying about the supposed safety of amphetamines, our DEA maintains this entire population under the label of “criminal”, because they have a brain disease. No other disease is considered a crime to have. And in no other disease, is it acceptable for DEA agents to command the FDA what it may or may not test, for treatment of that disease. DEA pretends ignorance of the “opioid epidemic” that they caused. 30 years of NIDA research proves that amphetamines create an opioid craving. DEA is killing our children! Please read: https://t.co/pzVCtYWkeu

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