20,000 Cannabis convictions in NYC could be expunged

20,000 Cannabis convictions in NYC could be expunged
View of the Manhattan Bridge taken in DUMBO, Brooklyn. The Empire State Building can be seen in the background.
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Over twenty thousand of low-level Cannabis convictions could be erased. Brooklyn’s top prosecutor, Democratic District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, has invited people to request their conviction be dismissed.

He expects prosecutors will consent in the majority of a potential 20,000 cases since 1990 and many older ones.

Along with Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Gonzalez office has stopped prosecuting those arrested with small amounts of Cannabis.

“It’s a little unfair to say we’re no longer prosecuting these cases, but to have these folks carry these convictions for the rest of their lives,” Gonzalez told The Associated Press.

In 2014 Gonzalez guided the launch of several of former District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson’s initiatives, including the creation of the Conviction Review Unit and the policy regarding the non-prosecution of many low-level Cannabis possession cases.

Many states have laws allowing for removal or sealing of Cannabis convictions in certain instances.

Cities like Seattle, San Diego, and San Francisco have taken steps to remove past convictions as well.

Lawmakers in California is awaiting the signature from Governor Jerry Brown of a measure approved last month that would require prosecutors to expunge almost 220,000 Cannabis convictions.

With the steady decline in Cannabis convictions since 2011 many local cities are starting to rethink the laws on Cannabis.

Remember your vote counts. Go out and vote this November.

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