In an effort to bring “restorative justice” to communities that have been disproportionately affected by drug law enforcement, Seattle’s mayor and city attorney said Thursday that the city will move to dismiss marijuana possession convictions that were prosecuted before Washington state voted to legalize the drug.
The state passed a measure in 2012 allowing adults age 21 and over to carry up to an ounce of marijuana.
It is not yet clear how many cases will be affected by retroactively applying the policy. But the move would alleviate what can be devastating personal and professional consequences for those convicted.
“This front of the failed war on drugs had a clear racial bias and disproportionately targeted and impacted communities of color in our state,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan wrote Thursday in an op-ed.
The mayor pointed to a 2012 Washington State University report showing that although white people in the state use marijuana at a slightly higher rate than black and Latino people, they are arrested far less. Black people were arrested at 2.9 times the rate of white people between 1986 and 2010. Latinos and Native Americans were arrested at 1.6 times the rate of white people. [Read more at Huffington Post]