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San Francisco Embraces New Technology to Clear Pot Convictions

Several pot-related crimes went up in smoke when California voters approved Proposition 64 marijuana reforms in 2016—and all retroactively.

However, a lack of resources in many district attorney offices to review decades’ worth of criminal cases eligible under the new law proved to be a roadblock until recently. 

Thanks to new technology,  “San Francisco is the first California county to announce full compliance with the state’s broad legalization of marijuana that also made an estimated 200,000 past pot convictions eligible for erasure or reduction,” reports.

A “light weight” and simple computer-based algorithm “Clear My Record” provided by the nonprofit technology group Code for America “quickly identifies eligible cases,” reports.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said in May “his office managed to identify and dismiss a little more [than] 1,000 eligible misdemeanor cases. Since then, an additional 8,132 cases have been identified.” 

In fact, “Gascon said a total of 9,300 cases dating back to 1975 will be dropped or reduced without cost, active participation and, in many cases, the knowledge of the defendants.”

The D.A. hopes other counties will adopt Code for America’s technology, reports.

“In December, Michigan became the latest state to broadly legalize marijuana, eliminate pot crimes and allow past convictions to be erased or reduced. Meanwhile, prosecutors in Baltimore, Seattle, Chicago and multiple others across the country followed Gascon’s lead and announced their intentions to clear eligible marijuana convictions in their jurisdictions.” 



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