Seattle To Join San Francisco In Dismissing Marijuana Misdemeanors

by greenrush

Seattle announced on Thursday that it will be throwing out hundreds of misdemeanor marijuana convictions. It will also be dismissing weed-related crimes that took place before the state of Washington legalized marijuana in 2012.

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According to The Seattle Times, the move was announced by Mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan (D) and city attorney Pete Holmes (D). They stated that people with past marijuana convictions are facing unfair hurdles in life. Holmes said he will ask the Seattle Municipal Court to vacate all convictions and dismiss all charges for misdemeanor pot possession ahead of the 2012 legalization.


When describing the city’s thinking behind the move, Mayor Durkan said that the failed War on Drugs “ended up being a war on people who needed help, who needed opportunity and who needed treatment.”


“We did little to stem the tide of the supply of drugs and instead incarcerated almost an entire generation of users who could have had a different way,” she said.


Holmes added that vacating the convictions is part of the battle against the Trump administration, “which would like to turn back the clock.”


According to Holmes, the presiding judge for Seattle Municipal Court is in favor of the proposal. If the move goes ahead, it’s estimated that up to 600 convictions dating back to 1997 will be vacated.


Seattle isn’t the first city to make this move. Earlier this month, San Francisco announced it would be expunging marijuana-related misdemeanors and seriously reducing felony charges for marijuana crimes committed before California legalized cannabis for recreational use on January 1. The San Francisco bill is expected to go even further back, examining charges as far back as 1975. It’s also expected to review nearly 5,000 charges, much more than Seattle’s current estimations.


Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) also said that he was considering dismissing convictions for nonviolent pot offenders, demonstrating a shift towards helping communities disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs, many of whom are made of people of color and minority communities.