Ever since the drug war made it a priority to arrest anyone who had possession of marijuana, there have been millions of people who have spent years in jail for their ‘crime’. Marijuana is being legalized in different states throughout the country. As more states adopt these laws, there has been debate whether or not to overturn these charges.
Recently, Los Angeles county has overturned 66,000 felony and misdemeanor convictions in the month of February. Of the 66,000, there are 62,000 felonies being acquitted and 4,000 misdemeanors. To do this, the county is using computer algorithms to sort through the decades of marijuana convictions, which would be hard to access otherwise.
California and The Weed Industry
Marijuana has been legal in California since 2016, and in 2019 alone, the industry made over 3-billion dollars in sales. Once legalization took place, the debate – which has been around ever since Ronald Reagan declared the drug war – had an upper position over the idea to eliminate marijuana convictions.
Although people who sold massive quantities of weed or other drugs were not acquitted, anyone who was thrown in jail or written up for possession of small amounts of marijuana will have their records erased. Having a marijuana conviction on your record hinders the ability for people to land a steady job.
With these acquittals, people will have a better chance at landing a decent paying job. Depending on the case, people who were written up for marijuana possession could be at the level of a felony. So, these acquittals will not only help people get better jobs, but it will help to erase the stigma people have around others with felonies.
Overall, there is still much progress to be made in acquitting past convictions involving marijuana. As more states begin to legalize this substance, there is hope in seeing all of these convictions erased throughout the United States.