Seattle officials announced Friday that they have filed a motion to vacate all convictions and charges for marijuana possession in the last few decades.
Washington state legalized the recreational use of marijuana back in 2012. According to a press release, 542 people who were convicted before 2010 for carrying small amounts of weed will be affected by this new mandate, the Seattle Times reports.
“Vacating charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession is a necessary step to correct the injustices of what was a failed war on drugs, which disproportionately affected communities of color in Seattle,” Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) said in a statement. “The war on drugs in large part became a war on people who needed opportunity and treatment. While we cannot reverse all the harm that was done, we must do our part to give Seattle residents — including immigrants and refugees — a clean slate,” she added.
Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use. Earlier this month, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced he would introduce legislation to decriminalize the substance at the federal level.
“The time has come to decriminalize marijuana,” he said in a press release. “My thinking – as well as the general population’s views – on the issue has evolved, and so I believe there’s no better time than the present to get this done. It’s simply the right thing to do.”
By: Paula Rogo, Essence