In an op-ed in The Stranger, Seattle, Washington’s alt-weekly, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that she has directed City Attorney Pete Holmes to ask Seattle’s Municipal Court to vacate convictions and dismiss charges for misdemeanor cannabis possession.
“Here’s why this is necessary: While minor marijuana possession has been the lowest enforcement priority for the Seattle Police Department since Seattle voters passed Initiative 75 in 2003, the City continued to charge for possession until City Attorney Holmes took office in 2010.” – Durkan in The Stranger op-ed.
I-75 mandated that arrests of adult cannabis users would become the lowest priority for Seattle‘s law enforcement agencies.
Durkan pointed out that affected individuals would not have to take any action to get the convictions thrown out – much like the reforms underway in San Francisco, California.
“Addressing the wrongs that were caused by the failures of the war on drugs for many years in this country – and particularly the damage wrought on communities of color – won’t happen overnight. We must provide more effective alternatives to prosecution and incarceration through drug and mental health courts, restoring rights and supporting re-entry.” – Durkan in the op-ed
In her role as an attorney, Durkan worked with former King County prosecutor Norm Maleng to create one of the first drug courts in the nation. As a U.S. Attorney under former President Barack Obama she helped create one of the nation’s first federal drug courts.
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