Brooklyn DA to throw out hundreds of marijuana convictions

Brooklyn’s top prosecutor is expected to dismiss hundreds of low-level marijuana convictions on Wednesday, following through on a plan announced earlier this year.

Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez will appear in court Wednesday morning and plans to vacate outstanding warrants related to low-level marijuana crimes, as well as past misdemeanor marijuana convictions, according to local reports.

Legal volunteers will be on hand to help people file paperwork to request dismissal of charges, a local CBS affiliate in New York reports.

“To fail to address these past convictions would be hypocritical and it would be to turn a blind eye on all the harm caused by marijuana enforcement in prior years,” Gonzalez said, according to ABC7.

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Gonzalez announced the “Begin Again” initiative in September to erase misdemeanor marijuana convictions. His office said at the time that the program is expected to clear about 20,000 cases eventually.

The move follows numerous efforts by New York state and city officials to dismiss low-level marijuana crimes.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) this summer ordered police to stop arresting people for smoking marijuana in public.

And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) earlier this week called for state lawmakers to legalize recreational marijuana next year.

"We must also end the needless and unjust criminal convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma, and let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all,” Cuomo said.

Other jurisdictions this year, including San Francisco and Seattle, have moved to clear marijuana convictions.