San Francisco will take the first steps towards ending the drug war by removing all retroactive cannabis convictions of San Francisco residents, dating all the way back to 1975, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. This is a momentous step, and one that will no doubt go a long way towards mitigating circumstances that have led to the United States having the largest prison population in the world.
This move will likely affect thousands of people living in the San Francisco area, especially minorities and people of a lower socioeconomic status. Conviction of something as minor as cannabis possession can have a huge impact on one’s life including, not being able to find employment, or qualifying for housing and student loans. This of course keeps the downtrodden in a vicious cycle of poverty and crime that leads to communities and families being ripped apart.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said that the city is planning on expunging prior convictions of over 3000 people. “Instead of waiting for people to petition — for the community to come out — we have decided that we will do so ourselves,” he said. “We believe it is the right thing to do. We believe it is the just thing to do.”
So far they are the only city to do so. One of the provisions of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational cannabis in California, is that California residents with cannabis convictions, can petition the court to have their records expunged, regardless if they have felony or misdemeanor convictions.
Cannabis is legal in some form in over half the country. Despite this, racial disparities in cannabis arrests remain, and minorities convicted of cannabis offenses continue to sit and rot in prisons all across the country. Hopefully other legal states will follow in California’s footsteps.
Source: SF Chronicle
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