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85,000 Marijuana Convictions Expunged in California

Some 85,000 marijuana convictions, some going back decades, will be dismissed in California.

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Marijuana Convictions California

(TMU) — Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that she had secured the automated dismissal of 66,000 marijuana convictions in Los Angeles County alone. In total, the State Attorney’s office announced that there have now been 85,000 cases expunged in all of California.

According to the LA Times, Lacey filed the motion asking a judge to erase 62,000 felony convictions dating back to 1961 and 4,000 misdemeanor convictions in a total of 10 cities across the county on Thursday. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta signed off on the order Tuesday.

That means 22,000 civilians will no longer carry felonies on their records in California and 15,000 no longer have a criminal record at all. Of the 53,000 people who received the relief, 32% are black, 45% are Latino, and 20% are white according to the Associated Press.

In 2016, Proposition 64 legalized the purchase and possession of small amounts of cannabis and allowed people to grow as many as six plants for personal use. And then in 2018, state legislation ordered California prosecutors to review past marijuana cases eligible for dismissal under Proposition 64 and decide whether to challenge any claims by July of this year, NPR reported.

The expungement effort was a part of a partnership with Code For America, a nonprofit organization that developed a computer algorithm to quickly analyze county data to determine which cases were eligible to be cleared. Code For America was involved with the effort last year to expunge the records of 9,000 San Francisco residents for marijuana offenses.

Code For America’s Clear My Record technology is free to all 58 California district attorneys and has helped reduce or dismiss more than 85,000 Proposition 64 eligible convictions across five counties the State Attorney’s office said, according to USA Today.

On average it takes 15 minutes for an attorney to review just one record,” said Evonne Silva, senior program director for Code for America. “The fact that we can review thousands of records in minutes really unlocks the potential for this to apply to other marijuana legalization efforts in other states.”

Lacey stated that her office even exceeded what the law requires and further fully dismissed felony convictions for cultivating, possession, transporting, or selling marijuana for people who are over 50 or under 21. However, there were stipulations that those convicted couldn’t have had a felony conviction in the last 10 years or have completed probation for cannabis convictions.

Efforts by multiple U.S. states to pardon past marijuana convictions using automated technology are increasing. Last year, TMU reported that Illinois Governor JB Pritzker granted over 11,000 pardons to people convicted of low-level marijuana convictions after cannabis was legalized in the state.

According to PEW Research in 2017, the states eligible for scrubbing former marijuana convictions were Colorado, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has expressed that if he is elected all past marijuana convictions would be expunged.

Sanders administration we will review all marijuana convictions – both federal and state – for expungement and re-sentencing. All past convictions will be expunged,” the Sanders campaign wrote.

Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, but 11 states including Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia have laws on the books legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Ten states also allow for the regulated sale of the plant. Nearly 90 percent of American adults support marijuana legalization, according to a recent poll.

In 2020, legalization efforts appear to be more likely with an additional 19 states, that want to push for legalization.

Los Angeles pardoning 66,000 is a big step in the right direction in allowing non-violent offenders who are a victim of the war on drugs to rebuild their lives. So far California, Illinois, and New York have passed laws that demand officials to clear the records of their citizens while a total of 12 states have enacted laws that allow residents to manually seek the erasure of low-level cannabis convictions a much more lengthy process.

By Aaron Kesel | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Jeff Bezos Thanks Amazon Workers And Customers For Paying For His Flight To Space

Elias Marat

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The billionaire space race chalked up one more ignoble milestone on July 20 when the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, boarded a reusable rocket his company Blue Origin built and funded, flew to the edge of space for a moment of weightlessness, and came back down to earth.

You can watch the flight and learn more about the journey here.

The Amazon founder has faced withering criticism for accumulating his massive fortune on the backs of an exploited workforce that is subject to harsh working conditions and low pay in warehouses or Fulfillment Centers where staffers must urinate in water bottles in order to meet their quotas.

In his press conference following the launch, Bezos thanked that same workforce for helping him to shoot himself into space in a move that many critics have described as a simple “joyride.”

“I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for this,” he told the crowd, which responded with laughter. “Seriously, for every Amazon customer out there and every employee thank you from the bottom of my heart very much. It’s very appreciated.”

Critics on Twitter responded with derision, noting that Bezos was able to enjoy the trip at the expense of his hard-working employees.

“Thing is, employers are supposed to pay their employees, not the other way around, but that’s basically how Amazon works,” one user tweeted.

While another tweeter asked: “Maybe they’re searching space for signs of a livable wage or a way to pay their fair share of taxes?”

On Tuesday, Bezos blasted off in the sub-orbital New Shepard rocket from Texas. The date for the launch was chosen to coincide with the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Members of the crew, which included his brother mark and 82-year-old female astronaut Wally Funk, brought a number of historic items on the flight, including a piece of canvas from the conceptual plane originally flown by the Wright brothers, the goggles Amelia Earhart used to fly across the Atlantic, and a brass medal made from the first hot air balloon which flew in 1783.

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Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces

Elias Marat

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Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.

And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.

The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.

The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.

At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.

When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.

Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.

The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.

The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.

“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.

“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.

His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.

Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.

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Animals

Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber

Elias Marat

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An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.

In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.

“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”

As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.

Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.

“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.

Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.

So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.

“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”

As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.

Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.

“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”

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