Cities in California are making great efforts to clear past marijuana convictions from criminal records to help right the wrongs of the War on Drugs. But the city of San Francisco is taking it one step further.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón is teaming up with a nonprofit called Code For America to help create a software app that will clear marijuana convictions of the city's residents. The group's created an app called Clear My Record that allows prosecutors to automatically fill out the required forms and send a digital file to the courts to clear a person's arrest record for marijuana charges.
“When the government uses 20th-century tools to tackle 21st-century problems, it’s the public that pays the price,” Gascón said.
California included a provision in their marijuana legalization ballot initiative that required the state to crate a pathway to allow individuals to clear their cannabis records that would no longer be crimes under the new law. Unfortunately, the current process isn't simple. Individuals must file their own petitions to the court to get their records removed, which can cost time and money, if the person's even aware that this option exists at all.
Gascón announced in January that San Francisco would handle clearing the city's marijuana records itself, which number about 5,000 dating back to 1975. Other cities and officials in the state have also taken on the burden of clearing the records in light of Gascón's decision.
Code for America says they hope their app can help remove 250,000 marijuana convictions by next year.