Even as the authorities in New York City have scaled back enforcement of marijuana laws, a legacy of tough policies remains: People are hindered from getting jobs, apartments and access to education because of decades-old marijuana convictions and outstanding warrants.
Now Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, is expected to announce next week that his office will vacate misdemeanor marijuana warrants dating to 1978. In Brooklyn, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is going further, offering people with low-level convictions for marijuana possession the chance to have them vacated and the underlying charges dismissed.
Mr. Gonzalez’s office will also automatically vacate 3,438 open marijuana warrants stemming from summonses and is encouraging people to come forward to have misdemeanor arrest warrants cleared.
The moves are part of a national shift in how states and cities are rethinking marijuana laws. The drug has been legalized in nine states and Washington, D.C., and cities including San Francisco and San Diego are automatically clearing old misdemeanor convictions.