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Cake day: July 7th, 2023


  • Her prosecutors appear to have convicted people on marijuana charges at a higher rate than under her predecessor, based on data about marijuana arrests in the city.
    But former lawyers in Harris’ office and defense attorneys who worked on drug cases say most defendants arrested for low-level pot possession were never locked up. And only a few dozen people were sent to state prison for marijuana convictions under Harris’ tenure.

    While there were more marijuana convictions during Hallinan’s tenure, there were also a lot more arrests. San Francisco arrest data compiled by the Attorney General’s office suggests that 24 percent of marijuana arrests led to marijuana convictions under Harris, compared with 18 percent of arrests under Hallinan.
    Conviction rate aside, only 45 people were sentenced to state prison for marijuana convictions during Harris’ seven years in office, compared with 135 people during Hallinan’s eight years

    “Our policy was that no one with a marijuana conviction for mere possession could do any (jail time) at all,” said Paul Henderson, who led narcotics prosecutions for several years under Harris.

    In other words, she prosecuted people for weed but sought lesser sentences. Laws after she left office lead to distorted interpretations of what happened after she left.