Twenty years worth of misdemeanor marijuana convictions in the city of Seattle could be wiped out.
According to a statement from Mayor Jenny Durkan, the city has filed a motion in municipal court to vacate all misdemeanor marijuana convictions in the city, which would affect 542 people. Also requested by the city of Seattle: the dismissal of outstanding misdemeanor possession charges.
Durkan echoed a growing consensus in describing Seattle’s move as an “important step to right the wrongs [of] the failed war on drugs.” She particularly focused on drug laws impacts on people of color, who have for decades been convicted under aggressive drug laws at disproportionately high rates relative to whites.
Washington State became the first state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana for recreational use back in 2012.
San Francisco took a similar step earlier this year, dismissing more than 3,000 misdemeanors from the years before the state legalized marijuana. The Philadelphia District Attorney also recently announced the city will drop criminal charges for marijuana possession.
These local announcements stand in contrast to actions taken by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recently called for federal prosecutors “to resume the old of pursuing the sternest possible charges and longest available sentences for all drug crime suspects,” as ThinkProgress previously reported.