Seattle Is Looking to Drop Old Marijuana Convictions

Image via AP.
Image via AP.

Six years after marijuana became legal in Washington state, the city of Seattle will finally move to dismiss misdemeanor marijuana-possession convictions previously prosecuted by the city.

The announcement came in a Thursday statement from the office of Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes, who wrote that vacating the now irrelevant-convictions is an attempt at “restorative justice for the communities who have been disproportionately targeted by the criminal justice system and furthers the city’s commitment to eliminate racial disparities.” Those communities, of course, refer to people of color. Though studies show that white people in the state use weed more than black and Latinx people, the latter groups are far more likely to prosecuted:

“Marijuana possession arrests in Washington rose sharply in the 25-year period from 4,000 in 1986 to 11,000 in 2010, totaling 240,000 arrests, according to the Drug Policy Alliance,” the mayor’s office statement says. “In Washington state, African Americans were arrested at 2.9 times the rate of whites. Latinos and Native Americans were arrested at 1.6 times the rate of whites.”


Seattle has long been progressive in its pot laws. Minor possession has been the lowest enforcement priority since 2003; beginning in 2012, it became legal for adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of weed.

It’s not clear how many people will be affected by the new policy, though the statement from Durkan and Holmes notes that a motion will be made on behalf of all those who are found eligible, and won’t require any action on the part of those convicted.

Night blogger at Jezebel

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High time, as they say. I’ve been smoking and loving weed since I was 17, wayyy back in 1979. I’ve always viewed it as Nature’s Sacrament.

A couple years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had been dealing for decades with a degenerative spinal condition, thus making me eligible for a medical Marijuana card here in Connecticut.

I still can’t get over it!

In the olden days, I used to get a teensy thrill when it was time to go see my pot guy..the illicitness was kind of fun.

Other than buying weed, I was a straight arrow citizen. My main connection in the 80's and 90's was a friend who grew his own down in N. Carolina and in the fall, when the harvest was brought up North, we’d all convene for trimming parties at his house, each of us with our mountain of untrimmed bud in front of us, smoking some of what we trimmed, listening to music and conversation, just a good time. We were paid in product, of course.

I got so used to sneaking around all those years, that now that I can just walk into the dispensary and buy anything I want, it takes some adjusting to!

My first purchases saw me sort of sidle up to the counter,sotto voce, saying “Um, could I have two of those?” as I looked about mewith beady little eyes. The girl behind the counter even laughed..she was like : “Yes of course! You can have as many as you want!” Very soothing and reassuring, she was.

I’m considerably more relaxed now when making my purchases. I have a huge monthly allotment, too..I can buy two ounces, or the equivalent in edibles, vapes etc,  every thirty days..I don’t consume much more than 3 or 4 ounces in a whole year! 

I would definitely put a legal smoking age of 21 on marijuana, only because it really can take the edge off one’s youthful motivation..not the best idea to be overly mellow when preparing for adult life, but overall I think its a very beneficial thing. To see people still harshly penalized for something I can now get legally and easily is just not right.