SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco’s district attorney says his office will toss out or reduce thousands of criminal convictions for marijuana dating back decades, which is allowed under a 2016 ballot measure legalizing recreational use in California.

District Attorney George Gascon announced Wednesday that his office will dismiss nearly 3,000 misdemeanor cases and review nearly 5,000 felony cases for possible action.

Proposition 64 legalized the recreational use of marijuana. It also allowed people convicted of marijuana charges to petition courts to toss out the cases or reduce penalties.

But Gascon says that process can be time consuming and costly, so prosecutors in the district attorney’s office plan to review and wipe out eligible cases en masse.

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would require all California district attorneys to take similar action.

However, some in Los Angeles hope that doesn’t happen.

“It seems California is more interested in handing people ‘get out of jail free’ cards than they are in punishing people for the crimes that they commit,” Lou Turriaga told CBS2 News. He leads the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union for LAPD officers.

Turriaga said the passage of Prop 64 should not be used to retroactively expunge or reduce prior convictions.

“There’s no reason to go back and waste taxpayer money, my money,” said Turriaga. “I’m a taxpayer in this city.”

At Koreatown Collective pot shop, sentiments couldn’t be more opposed.

“Most of the people that did get arrested or get charged weren’t bad people,” says Samuel Lee with the collective. “I would think it would help a lot of people in a broader spectrum.”

San Diego is also forgiving old marijuana convictions.

The L.A. County District Attorney’s office did not reply to CBS2’s request for comment.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (2)
  1. Vito Tums says:

    Lou Turriaga is trying to continue the War on Drugs after it has already been lost. For years police agencies have received funding from the DEA for drug interdictions. This gave the police a financial reason to participate in the War on Drugs. Strictly speaking this form of graft has been overlooked for a long time. It is time for us to take actions that put the police back in their place as servants. The opinion of Turriaga is meaningless in light of the fact that he and others benefit financially from Nixon’s contrived War on Drugs.

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