Seattle to dismiss misdemeanor marijuana charges

Seattle to dismiss misdemeanor marijuana charges
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Seattle announced Thursday that it will vacate hundreds of misdemeanor marijuana convictions and dismiss charges for pot-related crimes that took place before the state legalized the drug in 2012.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) and city attorney Pete Holmes (D) announced the move, according to The Seattle Times, saying that people who were convicted of marijuana-related crimes before the drug was legalized are facing unfair hurdles.

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.

He estimated that 500 to 600 convictions dating back to 1997 will be vacated as a result.

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Durkan said the move was a “necessary step” to overturn a failed war on drugs that “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.”

He said the the presiding judge for Seattle Municipal Court is in favor of the proposal.

If approved, Seattle would join San Francisco in retroactively applying legal marijuana laws and dismissing past convictions.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) also said that he was considering dismissing convictions for nonviolent pot offenders.

Recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and Washington, D.C.