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Southern California counties clear 100,000 cannabis convictions by July 1 deadline

As calls for criminal justice reform sweep the nation, California is taking steps to reverse some effects of the war on drugs, which continues to disproportionately impact people of color. California’s 58 county district attorneys had a deadline of Wednesday, July 1, to accept or challenge the state’s recommendation to clear the records of some 191,090 past marijuana convictions. The procedure was triggered by Proposition 64, a 2016 measure that legalized cannabis and reduced penalties for related crimes, and by Assembly Bill 1793, which requires justice officials to purge eligible crimes from people’s records. Because local prosecutors agreed with the vast majority of the state’s recommendations, tens of thousands of Californians are now free of criminal records for cannabis charges. In m...

Coding and cannabis: Santa Clara County to expunge thousands of marijuana convictions

SAN JOSE — Santa Clara County plans to expunge 13,000 minor marijuana convictions that were rendered moot by the state’s 2016 legalization of recreational pot use and sales, two months before a deadline set by the landmark law. But in the South Bay, it’s not just criminal-justice or drug policy story. Keeping in line with the region’s technological lineage, the District Attorney’s Office also made it a coding story. That’s because with the anticipated signature of Judge Eric Geffon in a Hall of Justice courtroom Wednesday, prosecutors are planning to automatically clear those conviction records from local, regional and federal law-enforcement databases with software created in-house by the DA’s technology staff. Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

Movement to decriminalize ‘magic mushrooms’ gains steam

SANTA CRUZ —  At first glance, it looked like an ordinary gardening workshop. On a table at the front of the room sat soil additives, humidity detectors and an oyster mushroom the size of a grapefruit. “This is a younger shiitake mycelium,” said instructor Will Goss, passing around a bag of wood chips covered in thin white filaments. He then described how to grow the rootlike mycelium from spores and coax it into producing mushrooms. All of the people who attended the workshop were provided with their own grow kits, but they were told they needed to find their own spores. That’s because they weren’t learning how to grow shiitakes. They were finding out how to cultivate psychedelic mushrooms —  illegal to possess under state and federal laws. Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

Sonoma County pot murder brings life sentence for third man convicted in case

A Healdsburg man was sentenced on Thursday in Sonoma County Superior Court to 25 years to life without parole for a marijuana-related murder in 2018, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office said. Socorro Sierra, 35, was convicted in November of the murder of Jose Evelio Martinez, 46, of Cloverdale in June 2018. Sierra and Martinez entered into a marijuana deal that quickly became combative, the District Attorney’s Office said. When Martinez, a middleman in the deal, wanted to get out of the deal Sierra became resentful and pressured Martinez for money. Sierra and two other men drove Martinez to a remote bridge in The Geysers area of Sonoma County on June 30, 2018. Sierra shot Martinez in the head and buried his body on his marijuana grow near Healdsburg.