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Thousands of San Francisco residents convicted of marijuana offenses since 1975 will see those convictions dismissed or reduced under an effort announced on Wednesday by the city’s district attorney. Requiem marijuana dating the Arab Spring: Why has Tunisia succeeded where others failed?

But top San Francisco prosecutor George Gascon said on Wednesday he would not wait and would instead dismiss 3,038 misdemeanors and consider reducing an additional 4,900 felony marijuana charges. The move is meant to make it easier for people who would otherwise have to retain an attorney to file expungement paperwork for convictions that can scuttle employment and housing opportunities and have disproportionately affected African-Americans, he said. Gascon said in a statement. Gascon said relatively few Californians had petitioned courts to have convictions expunged since the legalization measure was passed in late 2016. California Lieutenant Governor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom tweeted his support on Wednesday. Nine states plus the District of Columbia have legalized the drug for recreational use, while dozens of others permit its medicinal use.

California finalized its licensing, regulatory and tax structure to allow cannabis shops to open for retail sales this year. Felony cases will be re-examined and those that don’t involve violence or other crimes may be thrown out on a case by case basis. Earlier this month, however, the U. Justice Department rescinded an Obama administration policy that had eased enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that legalized the drug, instead giving federal prosecutors wide latitude to pursue criminal charges. Please forward this error screen to 108.