California Weed

Happy 4/20, Sacramento: DA dismisses or reduces more than 5,300 marijuana convictions

How this cannabis lifestyle brand got its start in Sacramento

Mario Sherbinski, founder of cannabis lifestyle brand Sherbinskis, talks about why he returned to Sacramento from the Bay Area to start a premium marijuana brand that includes a licensed grow site and apparel that includes hats and hoodies.
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Mario Sherbinski, founder of cannabis lifestyle brand Sherbinskis, talks about why he returned to Sacramento from the Bay Area to start a premium marijuana brand that includes a licensed grow site and apparel that includes hats and hoodies.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert has dismissed nearly 2,000 marijuana-related convictions and reduced more than 3,300 from felonies to misdemeanors as a result of a Code For America pilot program, according to a news release Monday.

Code For America, a nonpartisan dedicated to solving government inefficiencies through technology, devised a program that scoured Sacramento County records for convictions eligible for reduction or dismissal under Proposition 64. Four other California counties have partnered with Code For America, which aims to reduce or eradicate 250,000 marijuana-related convictions nationwide by the end of 2019, on the same program.

Prop 64’s November 2016 passage not legalized recreational marijuana use throughout California, it allowed people convicted of light marijuana offenses such as having an ounce of flower or cultivating less than seven plants to expunge their records. Several felonies related to bulk sale of cannabis were also eligible for reduction to misdemeanors.

Schubert, meanwhile, agreed further to dismiss all convictions where the offender either: 1) committed no other crimes over the past 10 years; 2) had no other convictions on their record and had completed probation; or 3) incurred a misdemeanor or infraction as an adult while under 21 years old, according to the release.

A total of 1,919 convictions were dismissed and 3,384 were reduced, leaving 603 people with no criminal record whatsoever. The onus was originally on offenders to prove their newly-established innocence until Gov. Jerry Brown signed A.B. 1793 last year, tasking prosecutors with finding the outdated convictions themselves.

“Our partnership with Sacramento (County) shows what’s possible when we rethink government for the digital age,” Code for America founder/executive director Jennifer Pahlka said in the release. “I thank District Attorney Schubert for her leadership on this issue. Not only will it make government work better for the people it serves, but it has the potential to change the way the record clearance process works across the state and the nation.”

People wondering if their marijuana convictions were reduced or dismissed can call Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office representative Ryan Raftery at (916) 874-5578 or the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office representative Dawn Bladet at (916) 874-5258. Information will only be released to the affected individuals.

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Benjy Egel covers local restaurants and bars for The Sacramento Bee as well as general breaking news and investigative projects. A Sacramento native, he previously covered business for the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas.
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