In Syracuse, New York, Onondaga Country District Attorney William Fitzpatrick has ordered his staff to dismiss all new and pending marijuana charges this year. The policy shift is just part of the district attorney’s broader plan to wipe decades of cannabis convictions from the record. The move will impact the lives of hundreds of Onondaga County residents, clearing the way to better employment and education opportunities, more housing choices and public benefits.
Syracuse District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick Says Expungement is “A Simple Matter of Justice”
Despite a statewide drift toward decriminalization, marijuana arrests in Onondaga County in upstate New York have been on the rise over the past few years. Even with New York lawmakers closing in on a legalization vote later this year, 160 Onondaga County residents are facing cannabis charges already. In 2018, preliminary Onondaga County Crime Analysis Center data said police made 81 arrests for misdemeanor cannabis-only offenses and issued nearly 2,000 violations.
Not all of those arrests resulted in convictions. In fact, about 90 percent resulted in community service, adjournment or dismissal. Fitzpatrick’s plan won’t clear those records. But the DA’s office estimates roughly a few hundred people will qualify under the new expungement policy. Those with