Measure prior to Legislature could wipe out pot convictions for 200,000 individuals

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OLYMPIA — Washington could wipe out as several as 200,000 convictions for misdemeanor marijuana possession for adults who do not have something else on their criminal records.

A proposal in the Senate calls for automatic clemency for any individual more than 21 convicted of marijuana possession soon after Jan. 1, 1998, the year voters legalized the drug for medicinal use. A individual with various misdemeanor marijuana possession charges would be eligible for obtaining their record wiped clean, but a individual with any other crime on their record would not.

“Things that are legal now ought to be vacated from preceding convictions,” stated Sen. Joe Nguyen, D-West Seattle. “This is actually a matter of equity and justice.”

Sen. Jeff Holy, R-Cheney, a former law enforcement officer, stated he normally agrees with “getting rid of obstacles that do not serve any goal.” While wiping a person’s record clean would have been a basic factor 50 years ago, he stated, now that facts could stay readily available on social media and elsewhere on the web, even if it is cleared from court records.

Nguyen stated the Legislature ought to look at this a very good initially step and “control what we can handle.”

A representative from the Cannabis Alliance, a group of marijuana-primarily based enterprises, told the Senate Law and Justice Committee it supports Nguyen’s bill.

But the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs stated the state currently has a procedure for vacating previous convictions by going back to court. The group queries the potential of somebody with various convictions to have his or her record wiped clean, spokesman James McMahan stated.

Gov. Jay Inslee also has instituted a procedure for individuals with a single misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions to apply on the net for a pardon, he stated.

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