Wesson Introduces Resolution to Accelerate Expungement of Cannabis-Related Convictions

Wesson Introduces Resolution to Accelerate Expungement of Cannabis-Related Convictions

Council President Wesson Introduces Resolution to Accelerate Expungement of Cannabis-Related Convictions 

LOS ANGELES—In response to evidence of decades of racial bias in the enforcement and prosecution of cannabis-related crimes across the country, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson introduced on Friday a resolution to accelerate the expungement and resentencing of cannabis-related convictions in Greater Los Angeles.

The measure, which was co-introduced by Councilmembers Monica Rodriguez, Curren Price Jr., and Gil Cedillo, will formally align the City of Los Angeles with legislation being considered at the county and state level and add the legislation to the City’s State Legislative Program.

“This is the right thing to do, plain and simple,” said Wesson. “California voters told us with the passage of Prop 64 that this is what they want their elected officials to do. My hope is that this will right some wrongs sooner rather than later for Angelenos whose lives have been negatively impacted by the War on Drugs.”

The resolution will head to the Rules, Elections, and Intergovernmental Relations Committee where it’s expected to be heard next month.

Proposition 64, which passed in November 2016, legalized recreational marijuana statewide, and eliminated several cannabis-related laws that applied retroactively to convictions under those laws. But the review process has been time-intensive and many cases across California are stuck in expungement limbo.

Wesson’s measure follows the announcement by the San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón that his office plans to wipe more than 9,000 cannabis-related convictions after teaming up with Code for America, a nonprofit that uses open source technology to make government processes more efficient, to find every cannabis case eligible for expungement or resentencing under the terms laid out in Prop 64.

Various studies have shown that while cannabis use is roughly equal between black and white people, black people are nearly four times as likely to be arrested for simple marijuana possession.

The full text of the resolution can be found here.

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For a PDF version of the release, please click here.