April 3, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Joins County in Clearing Marijuana Convictions

By Staff Writer

In the wake of legalization, Santa Monica has joined LA County’s effort to dismiss 62,000 felony cannabis convictions.

Last week Santa Monica City Attorney Lane Dilg joined Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Code for America, Los Angeles County Public Defender Ricardo Garcia, and city attorneys from across Los Angeles county to announce the completion of a five-county “Clear My Record” pilot, which has cleared marijuana-related convictions eligible for relief under Proposition 64.

“Pre-2016 cannabis possession convictions in Los Angeles County disproportionately impacted people of color — individuals, families, and communities,” said Santa Monica City Attorney Lane Dilg. “By working with the District Attorney to dismiss misdemeanor cannabis possession cases, the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office joins offices across LA County in reducing barriers to housing and employment and continuing steps toward criminal justice policy that truly provides public safety for all.”

Prosecutors from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office last week asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to dismiss 62,000 felony cannabis convictions for cases that date back to 1961 as well as approximately 4,000 misdemeanor cannabis possession cases spanning 10 Los Angeles County cities: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Torrance, Pasadena, Inglewood, Burbank, Santa Monica, Hawthorne, Redondo Beach, and Hermosa Beach.

Approximately 53,000 individuals will receive conviction relief through this partnership. AccoriOf those, approximately 45% are Latinx, 32% are Black or African American, 20% are White, and 3% are other or unknown.

The other counties in the pilot include San Francisco, Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Contra Costa. In total, these five pilots will help reduce or dismiss more than 85,000 Proposition 64 eligible convictions.

“The dismissal of tens of thousands of old cannabis-related convictions in Los Angeles County will bring much-needed relief to communities of color that disproportionately suffered the unjust consequences of our nation’s drug laws,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. “I am privileged to be part of a system dedicated to finding innovative solutions and implementing meaningful criminal justice reform that gives all people the support they need to build the life they deserve.”

Proposition 64 identifies three health and safety code sections that qualified for resentencing: cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana and sales and/or transport of marijuana, all felonies. The law also includes dismissing possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor. District Attorney Lacey used additional criteria to go beyond the parameters of the new law to ensure the greatest number of dismissals. Those expanded parameters include persons who are 50 years or older, haven’t had a felony conviction in the past 10 years or have successfully completed probation for cannabis convictions.

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