The Brooklyn DA’s Office last week asked a judge in Brooklyn Criminal Court to dismiss 3,578 pening marijuana cases.
The DA’s Office also asked Judge Keisha Espinal to vacate any relevant arrest warrants, judgments of conviction and guilty pleas related to those cases.
“For too long, criminalization of marijuana has disproportionately impacted young people and communities of color whose members made up about 90 percent of those arrested,” said District Attorney Eric Gonzalez during a virtual town hall announcing the request. “These arrests ruined the lives of thousands of people over the years, saddling many with criminal convictions that prevented them from pursuing opportunities in life.”
If the judge grants the request, only eight criminal cases involving marijuana would remain active, and all of them involve allegations of driving while under the influence of the drug.
The request by the DA’s Office comes after the state voted on legislation to legalize recreational marijuana earlier this year. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill in March.
Gonzalez’s predecessor Ken Thompson stopped prosecuting marijuana possession cases in 2014, and later stopped prosecuting most cases involving the use of marijuana.
“Since its passage, my office has moved to dismiss open cases,” said Gonzalez. “I asked the court to dismiss over 3,500 warrant cases that remained in the system, effectively clearing the Brooklyn docket from these vestiges of previous models of policing and prosecution.”