Feb 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Los Angeles County to clear 66,000 marijuana convictions

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced on Thursday plans to dismiss almost 66,000 marijuana convictions.

The big picture: Lacey cited state legislation that allows the dismissal, per CNN. In 2018, California passed AB 1793, which requires the state Justice Department to look for marijuana-related convictions that are eligible to be wiped out or downgraded to misdemeanors.

  • That followed the 2016 passage of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana in the state and allowed Californians to petition to have old convictions expunged.
  • Prosecutors will have until July to review the cases.
  • About 45% of those who could see conviction relief are Latino and 32% are black, the district attorney's office said.

What she's saying:

"The dismissal of tens of thousands of old cannabis-related convictions in Los Angeles County will bring much-needed relief to communities of color that disproportionately suffered the unjust consequences of our nation's drug laws."
— Jackie Lacey in a news release

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The state of play: The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp, alleges that pilot Ara Zobayan failed "to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft" and was "negligent" when taking off Jan. 26.

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Why it matters: The administration has long railed against "sanctuary cities" and has been rolling out retaliatory actions against states, counties and cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement.

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Why it matters: The move could trigger additional accusations of political interference at the Justice Department, especially for extremely sensitive cases involving former Trump allies.