The bill seeks to expunge and seal the records of anyone "for which the qualifying crime was a misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction pursuant to 18 V.S.A. 4230, 4230a, or 4230b, unless the court finds that expungement would not be in the interest of justice", among other conditions.
Ollie Garrett with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board said misdemeanor possession charges also closed off opportunities to people of color in a points system that determines whether a person can be licensed and engage in the recreational marijuana industry in the state.
The City of Seattle will move to vacate misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions prosecuted by the city before it was legalized in Washington state.
Eight states have now legalized marijuana for recreational use, and some, including Oregon, California and Colorado, have made it easier for people to petition to have their pot convictions vacated or sealed.
The city attorney said it will probably be early next week when all of the resources are gathered needed to file a blanket motion to vacate the convictions, and the plan is to identify them by case number in an effort to protect the privacy of those convicted.
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.
Holmes hasn't prosecuted them since taking office in 2010. "In Washington state, African Americans were arrested at 2.9 times the rate of whites".
Beginning December 6, 2012, it was not a violation of state law for adults over 21 years old to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, sixteen ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, seventy-two ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form, or seven grams of marijuana concentrate.
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