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That Old Conviction For Pot? It’s About To Go Away

(Thomas Samson/AFP via Getty Images)
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If you were ever caught and convicted in Los Angeles County for having a joint, a lid or even a bale of marijuana, you can look forward to your criminal conviction being erased soon.

District Attorney Jackie Lacey has asked a judge to dismiss and seal the records of some 66,000 marijuana-related convictions for about 53,000 people dating back to 1961.

Lacey announced the move on Thursday, about 10 months after she first pledged to erase the cases. She said expunging the convictions could clear away an obstacle keeping thousands of people from getting better jobs, housing and education.

The request would “bring much-needed relief to communities of color that disproportionately suffered the unjust consequences of our nation’s drug laws,” Lacey said. About 45% of the convictions being lifted were for Latinos and 32% for African Americans.

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Lacy said the dismissals go beyond the relief called for under Prop. 64 -- the 2016 measure that legalized recreational marijuana -- and a follow-on implementation law known as AB 1793, which required past pot cases to be dismissed or re-sentenced by July 1 of this year.

Rather than just reduce the charges from felonies to misdemeanors in accordance with the law, she said she requested dismissals of all the convictions.