Thousands of marijuana convictions may be expunged - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Thousands of marijuana convictions may be expunged

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Prop 64 is making thousands of convictions for marijuana-related crimes eligible for reduction or even dismissal. 

Interim District Attorney Summer Stephan says her office will review thousands of cases involving felony drug convictions.  

In each instance, the crime centered around marijuana and because of prop 64 that felony could be reduced to a misdemeanor.  

"As prosecutors we follow the will of the people and we follow the law and that's what the law said," said Stephan. "We moved forward and we've been able to process almost 700 petitions."  

Offenders that are serving time, on probation or want a prior felony expunged have to meet certain criteria.  

They can't be violent offenders, sex offenders or someone with multiple drug convictions.  

"We were very careful to make sure that we balance public safety, while providing relief that the law allows for," said Stephan.  

Local legalization advocate Michael Chindrich believes this is a step towards righting many wrongs. 

"Now, we are making amends to the people that have been harmed by cannabis prohibition," said Chindrich.  

The San Francisco district attorney's office is also working towards erasing felony marijuana convictions.  

Some Bay Area community leaders believe the previous penalties harshly affected minorities.  

"Once these person's records are expunged, the trade unions need to open the doors so these black and brown young men and young ladies can get jobs," said Third Baptist Church Reverend Amos C. Brown.  

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