Out of the estimated one million Californians eligible to have their records cleared, only a few thousand have completed the process, due to the time, effort, and legal fees involved.
Several District Attorneys’ offices around the state decided to take matters into their own hands and directed their staff to identify and clear eligible convictions themselves.
Notably absent from the list of local governments correcting the wrongs wrought by decades of cannabis prohibition was Los Angeles County. Lacey estimated that there were around 40,000 felony convictions involving weed in her county since 1993, with many more misdemeanors. The motion directs the local Office of Cannabis Management to develop countywide recommendations on how to expediently clear former convictions and to allow currently-imprisoned marijuana offenders to apply for resentencing. “Our goal at the County is to give people second chances and remove barriers to employment and a productive and happy life.” In her statement, Solis noted that hundreds of thousands of L.A. County residents may qualify to have their convictions or sentences cleared or reduced.
Bonta explained that the time and effort involved in petitioning the court to have one’s records changed is too much of a burden for many cannabis offenders.