San Francisco to Expunge Over 9,000 Marijuana Convictions


ABC News

San Francisco District Attorney, George Gascon.

Angeliq Rigby, Reporter

On Monday, San Francisco officials announced that they will be expunging over 9,000 marijuana convictions dating as far back as 1975. In 2016, California voters legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults over 21, however, there are many people who have a marijuana conviction on their records. San Francisco’s District Attorney, George Gascon, says that because of this, people have a hard time getting loans and public assistance. The San Francisco District Office used technology made by Code for America, a non-profit organization, to identify which cases are eligible for expungement. 

San Francisco officials plan on expunging 9,362 felony and misdemeanor cases, with over 1,000 people being cleared already. By using Code for America’s algorithm, they are able to quickly identify marijuana related convictions that would normally take months or even years to do. To be eligible for expungement or a re-sentencing, the offender cannot have any violent felonies. If the cases are eligible, they are sent to a court for processing 

Gascon is hopeful that by expunging these records, that other officials will follow suit. “I hope that our success with Code for America can act as a catalyst for other leaders looking to engage in similar innovative and out-of-the-box methods to reform and rethink what our criminal justice system looks like.”  

With clear records, people who were given marijuana convictions will have a better chance at getting employed and approved for housing. They will also be able to be exposed to opportunities that they may have been denied because of their criminal record. San Francisco is the first city in the nation to start expunging records, but other California cities plan to do so in the future.