Los Angeles County DA Will Dismiss Nearly 66,000 Marijuana Convictions

Criminal Records

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On February 13, 2020, Los Angeles County District Attorney (DA) Jackie Lacey and Code for America announced that nearly 66,000 marijuana convictions eligible for relief under Proposition 64 – The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act will be dismissed as part of their partnership.

The dismissals complete the five-county Clear My Record pilot – the other counties being San Francisco, Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Contra Costa – to clear marijuana-related convictions eligible for relief under Proposition 64. In total, these five pilots will help reduce or dismiss more than 85,000 convictions.

“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,” Los Angeles County DA Lacey stated in the announcement.

Prosecutors asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to dismiss 62,000 felony cannabis convictions for cases that date back to 1961. The DA’s Office also sought the dismissal of approximately 4,000 misdemeanor cannabis possession cases that included cases filed in ten Los Angeles County cities.

Proposition 64 identifies three health and safety code sections that qualified for resentencing – cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana, and sales and/or transport of marijuana – all felonies. The law also includes dismissing possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor.

Based on this criteria, Code for America created a unique algorithm for the office to identify eligible convictions by analyzing thousands of convictions in seconds, alleviating the need for the DA staff to go through state criminal records one by one to evaluate eligibility, saving time and significant resources.

County District Attorney’s Offices in California are required to implement Assembly Bill 1793 (AB 1793) – which tasks prosecutors with affirmatively reviewing convictions eligible for dismissal or reduction under Proposition 64 – by July 1, 2020. All California counties have access to Clear My Record technology.

“Looking forward, Code for America stands at the ready to help all California counties provide this much needed relief in advance of the July 1, 2020 deadline,” Evonne Silva, Code for America’s Senior Program Director of Criminal Justice, stated in the announcement about the dismissals.

Despite the fact that marijuana is illegal at the federal level, several states and cities in the U.S. that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana have also passed laws that mitigate the impact against job applicants that fail drug testing with positive results for marijuana and this trend will continue into 2020.

Nevada Assembly Bill 132 took effect on January 1, 2020, and prohibits the denial of employment because of the presence of marijuana in a pre-employment drug test on prospective employees, making Nevada the first state to prohibit denial of employment due to positive marijuana drug test.

The New York City Council passed Introduction No. 1445-A which prohibits employers from requiring applicants to submit to drug testing for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the active ingredient in marijuana – as a condition of employment. New York City employers must comply with the ban by May 10, 2020.

Marijuana tops the list of illicit substances detected in drug testing. The rate of marijuana drug testing positivity for the U.S. workforce increased nearly eight percent in urine testing, from 2.6 percent in 2017 to 2.8 percent in 2018, according to the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – offers drug test solutions for employers that comply with state and local marijuana laws and provide access to more than 10,000 collection facilities. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Drug-Testing/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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