On Monday, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced that his office would be taking on more than 9,300 cannabis related cases, expunging them from people’s criminal records, reducing them from felony to misdemeanor, or from misdemeanor to infraction.
“It was just a matter of dignity,” Gascón told the press.
But the step to help right the Drug War’s historical wrongs is also required by California law. Mass expungement and charge reductions have challenged many law enforcement agencies in what they say is bureaucratic complexity, but they are seen as central as part of the process of restitutions for eras of racially biased policing.
San Francisco is the first county in the state to announce full compliance with the record-change process stipulated by AB 1793, a regulation related to Proposition 64, the 2016 ballot initiative that legalized recreational marijuana in California that “requires automation of this process across the state” for charge reductions or expungements, Rodney Holcombe, Drug Policy Alliance staff attorney, told High Times.
Luckily, the City By the Bay, which has become a center of programming technology worldwide due to its proximity to Silicon Valley, found an agile partner to help with the alleged bureaucratic morass; a 501(c)3