City Attorney moves to dismiss low-level marijuana convictions 
Published - 09/26/19 - 10:15 AM | 2441 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
City Attorney Mara W. Elliott
City Attorney Mara W. Elliott
City Attorney Mara W. Elliott on Sept. 25 announced that her Office is moving forward on the dismissal of thousands of low-level marijuana cases prosecuted by the San Diego City Attorney’s Office under laws that are no longer on the books. The Office is filing its first motion to dismiss roughly 30 convictions today. Additional motions will be filed on a regular and ongoing basis.

The Office is currently reviewing more than 5,000 misdemeanors and infractions from 2009 through 2018 and thousands more before that time period. Charges will be systematically dismissed to clear conviction records for acts that are no longer criminal. 

“Marijuana convictions under obsolete laws should not stand in the way of anyone’s future,” Elliott said. “A clean record will make it easier for thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens to obtain jobs and housing and fully participate in their communities. They should not be held back for activities that are now legal in the eyes of the courts, the State Legislature, and the voters of California.”

This review of old marijuana convictions implements Assembly Bill 1793, which tasks prosecutors with affirmatively reviewing convictions that are potentially eligible for dismissal or reduction under the Proposition 64 framework before July 1, 2020. The City Attorney’s Office is working with the Superior Court, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, and the Office of the Public Defender to develop a streamlined countywide process to identify all individuals eligible for relief. The process will involve a thorough review of convictions documented in the databases of the Superior Court, City Attorney’s Office, and California Department of Justice.

Elliott announced the filing of the first motions to dismiss today outside the San Diego Hall of Justice, where she was joined by state Assemblymember Shirley Weber and Katherine Braner, Chief Deputy Public Defender of San Diego County.

“Proactive steps like these remove unnecessary barriers to people who want to pursue positive change in their lives,” Assemblymember Shirley Weber said. “As someone who has long advocated for criminal justice reform and increased opportunity for our young people, I believe these conviction dismissals will allow individuals to flourish free from the burden of a criminal record.”

“I applaud the San Diego City Attorney’s decision to clear marijuana-related crimes from local records. The benefits are immense,” San Diego County Public Defender Randy Mize said. “This relief gives our citizens wider access to jobs, housing, financial aid, and other services that may have been out of their reach.”

Cases eligible for dismissal include convictions for:

• Possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana.

• Possession of 8 grams or less of concentrated cannabis.

Questions concerning the conviction dismissal process can be sent to at the City Attorney’s Office.

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