February 13, 2020

LOS ANGELES 鈥 Today, following the Los Angeles District Attorney’s announcement that she was dismissing 66,000 marijuana convictions, George Gasc贸n released the following statement:

“Government shouldn’t wait for the people to take action, it should take action for the people.聽 Today, prior to state law forcing her hand, the District Attorney finally dismissed these convictions.

For years, and in spite of legalization,聽individuals were denied employment and housing opportunities because of old marijuana聽convictions.聽Lack of access to a job and housing are primary factors that drive recidivism, and that’s why I took this action two years ago;聽it enhanced community safety and equity.聽 That’s also why it sparked a national movement.

Between freeing a man seven years after receiving notice of his innocence, claiming support for reforms after they became law, or dismissing marijuana聽convictions after telling the public to do it themselves, we are not witnessing聽a profile in courage, we are seeing a vacuum of leadership.聽 This聽two-year delay is indicative of a聽dated approach聽that prioritizes punishment at all costs, even when it comes聽at the expense of hope,聽opportunity, rehabilitation, and聽community safety.”


George Gasc贸n grew up in Los Angeles after his family immigrated from Cuba. 聽An army veteran, Gasc贸n served as a Los Angeles Police Department Officer for 30 years, rising to the rank of Assistant Chief of Operations. In 2006 he became Chief of Police in Mesa, Arizona, where he stood up to the hateful and anti-immigrant policies of then Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 聽In 2009, then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Gasc贸n Chief of Police. 聽Newsom turned to Gasc贸n again in 2011 when he tapped him to be District Attorney to fill the seat vacated by an outgoing Kamala Harris who had been elected Attorney General. During his tenure Gasc贸n implemented reforms that are being duplicated across the country while overseeing violent crime and homicides drop to rates not seen in 50 years. 聽After being elected to two terms, Gasc贸n returned to Los Angeles to care for his elderly mother and to be closer to his two daughters and grandchildren in Long Beach. 聽Gasc贸n is married to Fabiola Kramsky, a three-time Emmy Award winning journalist and recipient of the 鈥淧remio Nacional de Periodismo,鈥 the highest recognition given to journalists in Mexico.