As New York City recently announced plans to stop prosecuting marijuana cases, the Brooklyn DA is taking that policy a step further.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced a new policy where people can request that their old marijuana convictions be erased, and he expects prosecutors will approve in almost all incidences. Gonzalez estimates this new policy could erase around 20,000 cases dating back to 1990, and there could also be an unknown amount that are even older than that.
Gonzalez said it didn't make sense for his office to end prosecuting marijuana cases while also letting people who suffered under old policies still feel the repercussions.
“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 said.
Some states and cities have begun taking steps to erasing marijuana convictions, primarily in states where marijuana has already been legalized such as California and Washington. New York is one of the few to address the issue prior to legalization.
Still, the issue of what to do with previous cannabis convictions is often unaddressed by states that introduce marijuana legalization laws. But it seems the issue is far more at the forefront than it used to be.