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Over 8,000 marijuana convictions in San Francisco dismissed with help from a computer algorithm

News Posted Feb 25 2019

As more cities in legal cannabis states begin dismissing the records of previous cannabis convitions the city of San Francisco has taken a major leap forward in the process by developing a computer algorithm that can automatically scan court records. The human process of sorting through thousands of court records is more than just hours worth of work, but with the help of this new technology the process now only takes minutes. The algorithm was developed by the nonprofit Code For America and officals hope that other cities follow suite to help begin the massive overhaul of expunging the records of citizens who have been held back by cannabis convictions for years. When the manual process was announced last year in San Francisco only 23 people filed petitions to dismiss their records due to the timely and financial cost associated. Now thousands of people's lives have been made easier in San Francisco and hopefully many more around the country are to come.

Since that law, Proposition 64, passed, people whose past crimes would now not be penalized in the same way could petition to have their convictions overturned or reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. But it was up to the individual to petition the court on their own, a process that could be both time-consuming and costly. In 2018, only 23 people in San Francisco filed petitions, according to Gascón.

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