Washington legalized the recreational use of marijuana back in 2012 around the same time as Colorado. Now the act of legalizing first makes the state seem less like outlaws and more like leaders as 9 states have legalized cannabis for recreational use and 29 have legalized some form of medical cannabis. Earlier this month the city of San Francisco expunged thousands of previous marijuana convictions as they no longer fit into the state's laws. This week Seattle's mayor announced they will also be expunging eligible marijuana crimes in hopes of freeing citizens from convictions that haunt them for years while looking for jobs, education, and even housing. City officials hope expunging no-longer-relevant marijuana convictions will become a trend in legal states and help the United States move forward from it's unproductive past of the war on drugs.
Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes estimate more than 500 criminal convictions will be erased from court records. Most represent cases prosecuted between 1997 through 2009, which accounts for the period when pot misdemeanor cases were prosecuted in Seattle's municipal court. Prior to 1997 they were tried in county court, over which city officials have no jurisdiction.