In 2012, the state of Washington legalized the use of marijuana making it recreational and accessible to almost everyone.
The city of Seattle has decided to reverse past marijuana convictions between 1996 and 2010 that would help 542 people since the city has legalized the use according to the NY Daily News.
“A drug conviction, even for the misdemeanor offense of Possession of Marijuana, can have significant negative collateral consequences affecting a person’s employment opportunities, education options, qualification for government benefits and programs, travel, and immigration status,” explained Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes in a motion they filed.
When Holmes became the city attorney in 2010 he stopped charging people for marijuana possession. City officials noted a “disproportionate number of arrests of minorities for marijuana possession.”
The motion filed in court explains that African-Americans have been at the forefront of being affected by these rulings on marijuana.
“The perception among many persons that enforcement of drug laws discriminates against African-Americans has profound adverse effects on their cooperation with law enforcement, respect for the law and participation in the court system,” explained the motion.
Holmes called attention to the fact that the city has stores that sell marijuana are not at risk versus the people a few years ago who faced punishment for marijuana possession.
“As we see marijuana sold in retail storefronts today, people who simply had a joint in their pocket a decade ago still have a red mark on their records,” explained Holmes. “It’s long past time we remedy the drug policies of yesteryears, and this is one small step to right the injustices of a drug war that has primarily targeted people of color. I’m hopeful the court will choose to clear these charges.”
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(Source: NY Daily News)
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)