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Seattle Joins San Francisco in Dismissing Marijuana Convictions

by Countable | 2.13.18

UPDATE - February 13, 2018: Seattle city officials have announced a plan to ask the city’s municipal court to vacate all misdemeanor pot possession convictions.

As the Seattle Times explained, “Since Washington legalized marijuana in 2012, some people have been stuck with criminal records for misdemeanor pot convictions while watching others make killings off the business of selling legal weed.”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, described the move as a “necessary step to the right the wrongs” of a failed war on drugs that disproportionally affected poor communities of color.

“The war on drugs ended up being a war on people who needed help, who needed opportunity and who needed treatment,” Durkan said in a news conference. “We did little to stem the tide of the supply of drugs and instead incarcerated almost an entire generation of users who could have had a different way.”

Countable’s original story appears below.


San Francisco Dismissing Thousands of Marijuana Convictions

What’s the story?

Following California’s legalization of marijuana, prosecutors in San Francisco announced they will retroactively apply the law to pot-related convictions dating back to 1975.

Why does it matter?

As SF Gate explained, "Proposition 64…legalized the recreational use of marijuana in California for those 21 and older… The legislation also allows those with past marijuana convictions that would have been lesser crimes — or no crime at all — under Prop. 64 to petition a court to recall or dismiss their cases."

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said that his office will dismiss and seal 3,038 misdemeanor convictions, and review and possibly resentence up to 4,940 felony convictions, dating back to 1975.

Gascón said in a statement that his city is:

"taking the lead to undo the damage that this country's disastrous, failed drug war has had on our nation and on communities of color in particular."

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), author of the Marijuana Justice Act, applauded the move on twitter:

Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department was ending the policy that allowed states to relax restrictions on recreational pot without the threat of federal interference.

What do you think?

Should states that legalize marijuana revisit pot-related convictions? Or should states respect federal marijuana laws? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your comments below.

—Josh Herman

Related Reading

(Photo Credit: matt_benoit / iStock)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(135)
  • TracyEckels
    02/01/2018
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    This has been a long time coming. As a former Federal Law Enforcement Officer with the Federal Bureau Of Prisons I saw a great deal of people that didn’t belong in prison. Only to be mistreated by an obsolete system that they fell victim to. It costed more than $100,000.00 dollars per year to confine someone who was convicted under the laws of that time. I am glad to see that some governments are taking this seriously and correcting the errors of their ways.

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  • Liam
    02/01/2018
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    Great to see San Francisco making this important step. Millions of lives have been ruined by the War on Drugs and I hope to see my own state of Massachusetts (which recently legalized) take the same action.

    Like (74)
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  • Deirdre
    02/01/2018
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    Way to go California, the only state that is working for the people

    Like (50)
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  • BeStrong
    02/01/2018
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    That’s amazing. Well done San Francisco! Well done!

    Like (41)
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  • RadicalModerate
    02/01/2018
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    Upstate New Yorker. I would support Jerry Brown for President 2020. Good job California.

    Like (38)
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  • Holly
    02/01/2018
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    Good. We shouldn’t be wasting our money on marijuana convictions.

    Like (36)
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  • HawaiiChris
    02/01/2018
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    I love the steps San Francisco is taking to undue the damage done by unfair and inappropriate marijuana laws. We should follow suit!

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  • SirRobert
    02/01/2018
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    The war on Marijuana has ruined the lives of millions of people and their families lives. I can only imagine the Trillions of dollars that went into arrests, courts, private prisons, etc. state by state the country is being decriminalized. Take Marijuana off of schedule 1 and end the war.

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  • Truly
    02/01/2018
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    About damn time. How about it remaining states? Ready to get rid of the sundown town mentality and stop locking people up for trumped up charges? There are people serving a decade or more for pot possession while rapists and murderers get off without even a warning (looking at you frat boys and affluenza sufferers).

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  • Jack
    02/01/2018
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    Every city in each state should follow this amazing lead.

    Like (26)
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  • Felicia
    02/01/2018
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    Awesome it is about time.

    Like (25)
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  • Paul
    02/01/2018
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    Fantastic! Way to go SF!!!

    Like (23)
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  • Abbi
    02/01/2018
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    Great job California!! Maybe if we're lucky the news will kill Jeff. The very idea that the lower classes will live free and make their own decisions on how to live, is enough to give old rich racists heart attacks.

    Like (23)
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  • Azrael
    02/01/2018
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    Way to go! The country is proud of San Francisco

    Like (20)
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  • Nik
    02/01/2018
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    Way to go California. That’s what I’m talking about!!! USA

    Like (18)
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  • JordanB
    02/01/2018
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    👏

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  • BananaNeil
    02/01/2018
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    Ahhhh yeaaaa!

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  • Dean
    02/01/2018
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    This is wonderful news.

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  • Della
    02/01/2018
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    California, well done. Too bad there are still many States so behind! Idaho being one!

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  • David
    02/01/2018
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    Outdamnstanding, San Francisco truly hell of a town , congratulations California, Washington, Oregon Colorado, Nevada, Vermont, Maine and y'all get the idea hell even DC legal, Feds don't get it only 20 standing ground but has allowed medical marijuana 76% of nation wants it legal make it happen or loose your job, you're on the wrong side of history on this racist BS ❗️🇺🇸

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