Last Friday, the City of Seattle was finally able to file the motion that would have the court dismiss cannabis possession charges for all people charged between 1997 and 2010. Seattle joins other cities such as San Francisco in taking these steps toward righting the wrongs of the failed drug war. If this were to come to pass, a total of 542 people would have their criminal records expunged. One thing to keep in mind is that this does not include arrest records, just convictions.
Why is Seattle taking these steps? “As we see marijuana sold in retail storefronts today, people who simply had a joint in their pocket a decade ago still have a red mark on their records,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said to KIRO Radio.
This is a big step towards righting the wrongs of the drug war. As anyone with a prior cannabis related conviction can tell you, drug convictions can mess up your life for years after the initial conviction. People convicted of even the most minor cannabis offenses find it difficult to find and hold down a job that pays more than minimum wage. Much of the time, they are not able to find a job period. Often this results in a return to a life of crime, which leads to incarceration, release, then often recidivism. It’s quite the vicious cycle, and one that disproportionately affects minorities.
It is not right that people such as John Boehner who were so dedicated to putting people in cages for using a plant, can suddenly do a 180 and say they support cannabis because profits. This is especially not right when so many black and brown people remain behind bars.
Indeed there is a lot of work to be done to mitigate the damage of the drug war, but this is a good start.
Source: KIRO Radio
Is Seattle doing enough to repair the damage of the drug war? Could they be doing more? Tell us in the comments!