LA County to dump 50K marijuana convictions

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The county is getting the jump on a law to be enacted next year

Under a recently approved California law, marijuana-related crimes must be expunged from local records starting in the summer of 2020. LA County has decided that it doesn’t need to wait for the law to be in place and has announced that it will start clearing records in the near future.

Around 50,000 county residents are expected to benefit from the expungement, which is being made possible through a collaboration with the nonprofit organization Code for America. That group works to help qualified individuals gain access to government programs and services, most of which are currently unavailable for those with marijuana records.

Code for America has developed software that can streamline the process of identifying marijuana-related convictions that are eligible to be downgraded or expunged. The technology is being made available to different counties and LA County has decided to take full advantage of the resource.

When the expungement will begin or how residents will be notified haven’t been announced. However, the move is seen as an important step forward in the national criminal justice reform policies.

San Francisco took advantage of the technology this past February, using it to clear over 8,000 marijuana-related criminal convictions. San Joaquin County is also going to use the technology, according to the county’s district attorney, Tori Verber Salazar. He stated yesterday that the software will help the county clear around 4,000 marijuana-related convictions.

Code for America is excited about the technology and wants it to be used across the country. It hopes to have helped clear as many as 250,000 eligible records nationwide by the end of the year.