On Oct. 6, President Joe Biden pardoned thousands of people convicted of federal cannabis possession, a move that will clear barriers to housing and employment for those impacted.
Biden also called on the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to review current federal rules that classify cannabis as a dangerous substance on par with heroin and worse than drugs like methamphetamine and fentanyl.
In a statement, Biden said that no one should be incarcerated for the crime of cannabis possession and called on state governors to follow his lead. The New York Times reported that no one is currently in federal prison for cannabis possession alone.
“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana,” Biden said in the statement. “It’s time that we right these wrongs.”
It’s unclear exactly how many people will benefit from the pardon. According to the administration, approximately 6,500 people have been convicted of simple cannabis possession between 1992 and 2021, but possession became a crime in 1970. The pardon will also impact people convicted under statutes in Washington, D.C.
Some groups are left out of the pardon, limiting its reach. It only applies to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
Restitution is nigh
More than half a billion dollars from a resolution with three drug companies that supplied opioids will flow to Washington state to address the addiction and overdose crisis affecting people across the state.
McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. will jointly pay $518 million to the state after agreeing to a resolution to a lawsuit brought by Attorney General Bob Ferguson in King County Superior Court. Ferguson rejected a national settlement in July 2021, opting to take the three companies to trial instead. That trial wrapped in November 2021, and the resolution netted an additional $46 million for the state, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Local governments will receive $215 million for uses including treating opioid use disorder, increasing the availability of Naloxone and other drugs that treat overdoses and researching effective strategies to address the opioid abuse crisis.
According to the University of Washington’s Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute, the total number of drug-caused deaths involving opioids in 2020 was 1,219 in the state, a 43 percent increase from the year before. Between 2005 and 2018, the number of people who died of opioid-related causes stayed stable, but the cause shifted away from prescription drugs and toward heroin. More recently, synthetic opioids like fentanyl have played a larger role.
Many Washingtonians may have enrolled in a subscription service by accident while making a one-time purchase, according to a survey conducted for the Washington state Attorney General’s Office as part of its Honest Fees Initiative.
The online survey — conducted by Hardwick Research between June 24 and July 7, 2022 — asked 1,207 Washington adults about their experiences purchasing goods and services. The majority reported signing up for a subscription service by accident, often because of a pre-checked box in the checkout process.
Online retailers received the most complaints — 29 percent of those surveyed — and Amazon “received the most mentions,” according to the Attorney General’s Office.
The Seattle Public Library announced that it will extend hours at six branches and increase access to the book spiral at the Central Library location by the middle of October. The branches had reduced hours over the summer because of staffing shortages.
The Ballard, Capitol Hill, Douglass-Truth, Madrona-Sally Goldmark, Montlake and Rainier Beach branches will all see time restored to their schedules this month, and library officials expect other libraries with temporarily reduced hours to get some of those hours back in coming months, according to a release.
Check spl.org/hours for exact hours.
Seattleites at home and abroad shared uncommon moments of communal joy that inexplicably involved placing shoes on their heads as the Seattle Mariners came back to beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Oct. 7.
This Californian interloper is unused to “happiness” on the internet in general or among Seattle sports fans in particular, but the Mariners are pulling off a series of storybook finales that feel very Hollywood.
Take the shoe situation.
According to the Seattle Times, the Mariners were four runs behind the Blue Jays at the top of the eighth inning. A man named Ben made the truly ludicrous/inspired choice to put a Birkenstock on his head, because why not?
A phenomenon was born: the rally shoe. Mariners fans removed their shoes and placed them on the crowns of their heads or hung them off the sides. The Mariners came back.
While Seattleites embraced the power of the silly side, Blue Jays fans may learn a lesson on manners. When the Jays visited Seattle in July, one woman made the unconsidered choice to flip the bird to the Mariners Moose in distinctly un-Canadian fashion, a gesture seized upon by Very Online Seattleites.
Did the etiquette transgression doom the Jays? Did the shoe save the Mariners?
No, but it’s more fun to think about than the rest of the news.
Read more of the Oct. 12-18, 2022 issue.