Seattle leadership announced Feb. 8 that they will request that the municipal court vacate convictions and dismiss misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession in light of the 2012 law that legalized recreational marijuana use for people over the age of 21.
The move comes after the district attorney in San Francisco decided to retroactively apply its legalization law, passed by voters in 2017, to prior convictions. They expect nearly 5,000 felony convictions to be reviewed and 3,000 misdemeanor cases that were sentenced before passage to be dismissed and sealed, according to the district attorney.
In King County, more than 65,000 people were arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The practice had racial implications — Black people were 2.9 times more likely to be arrested than White people, and Native Americans and Latinx people were 1.6 times more likely to be arrested than White people.
The city of Seattle stopped charging people for possession in 2010 when Pete Holmes became city attorney.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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