SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Today, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced a new program to automatically review past marijuana convictions.
The following is a statement from Ana Zamora, Criminal Justice Director at the ACLU of Northern California.
We applaud District Attorney Gascón for upholding the will of Californians who voted to legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana and for using his discretion as the elected district attorney of San Francisco County to proactively help people with past marijuana convictions.
A past marijuana-related conviction can be a lifelong barrier to housing, employment, or recovery, depending on what you look like, how much money you have, and where you are from. Although Proposition 64 provided a way for people to petition the court to get relief from past marijuana convictions, the process is not automatic and depends upon the person learning of their rights under the new law and initiating the court process.
By committing to proactively review, resentence, and dismiss past marijuana convictions, the San Francisco District Attorney’s office has demonstrated its commitment to repairing some of the harm done by the twin failures of mass incarceration and the war on drugs. Both disproportionately affect young people, people of color, and people suffering from untreated mental illness.
It is 2018: The other 57 elected district attorneys in California have a golden opportunity before them to undo the harm inflicted by harsh and unjust sentencing and drug laws. Gascón is an example of how our elected DAs have the power and discretion to charge or dismiss, incarcerate or treat, neglect or review convictions. We urge district attorneys across California to follow his lead.