Well here’s some good news fresh off the press for anyone in Seattle who’s ever had a misdemeanor conviction for marijuana. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes announced Thursday they plan to nullify all misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession in the years before recreational pot was legalized in Washington state.
According to the Seattle officials’ statement, the City Attorney’s Office is asking Seattle’s municipal court to vacate convictions and dismiss charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession prosecuted by the city before Initiative 502 legalized pot possession for adults aged 21 or older in 2012.
Dismissing the charges will help to bring “restorative justice for communities who have been disproportionately targeted by the criminal justice system and furthers the city’s commitment to eliminate racial disparities,” the statement added.
According to the Drug Policy Alliance, arrests for holding weed in Washington state rose sharply in the 25-year period from 4,000 in 1986 to 11,000 in 2010, totaling 240,000 arrests. According to the news, African-Americans were arrested at nearly three times the rate of whites. Latinos and Native Americans were arrested at 1.6 times the rate of whites.
It’s also reported prosecutors are to review up to 4,940 felony convictions and consider reducing them to misdemeanors.