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Los Angeles DA moves to dismiss nearly 60,000 marijuana convictions

The new dismissals mean the possibility of better futures for thousands of people, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said.

LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors in Los Angeles will move to dismiss nearly 60,000 marijuana-related convictions about five years after California voters approved recreational cannabis, the district attorney's office said Monday.

Officials identified about 58,000 cases that are eligible for dismissal, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said. The cases go back three decades.

Last year, Jackie Lacey, then the district attorney, dismissed 66,000 convictions related to pot.

Gascón, who was elected district attorney in November, said the new dismissals would mean the possibility of better futures for thousands of people.

"It clears the path for them to find jobs, housing and other services that previously were denied to them because of unjust cannabis laws," Gascón said in a statement.

The 66,000 cases dismissed last year relied on data from the state Justice Department, Gascón's office said.

The 58,000 cases now being dismissed were found after a review of county court records, he said.

California voters in 2016 approved a measure to legalize recreational marijuana. Prosecutors and officials in other states have also moved to expunge or dismiss pot convictions after recreational marijuana became legal.

New York began automatically expunging criminal records of people with certain marijuana convictions after recreational marijuana was legalized this year. A 2019 law decriminalized possession and led to records' being expunged.

Eighteen states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana, but not all have set up legalized sales yet.

Andrew Blankstein contributed.