WOODLAND — Cannabis convictions haunt hundreds of thousands of people across California.
“Can prevent them from getting jobs, from getting housing, from getting student loans,” Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig said. “There’s a lot of barriers that those convictions created for people.”
Reisig says many of the records should have been cleared back in 2016 when California voted to legalize recreational marijuana.
“Many crimes involving marijuana were simply no longer crimes anymore. There were so many people out there that had convictions that it was really burdensome for district attorneys’ offices to even consider going through thousands and thousands of records to make the corrections,” Reisig said.
But now, a nonprofit called Code For America has a new software program to help district attorneys sort out who’s eligible to have their conviction cleared and wipe the record automatically.
“Where we were able to accomplish what we were able to do in minutes instead of months,” he said.
Yolo County entered data compiled by the Department of Justice and the software automatically dismissed and sealed 728 convictions. It was the first office in the state to do so.
The software reviews tens of thousands of case lines in seconds.
“However, we’re not done. There may be people that slipped through the cracks or there are other convictions that out there that may qualify for reduction or dismissal,” Reisig said.
Code for America is offering this software free of charge to all district attorneys across the state as a simple way to rectify the record for people whose lives were forever changed by a conviction that’s no longer a crime.
“Get the relief they’re entitled to under the law,” Reisig said.
Those in Yolo County who wish to find out if their conviction was cleared can call or email the district attorney’s office.