Proposed legislation would vacate some marijuana convictions

  • Saturday, February 9, 2019 4:30pm
  • News

By Emma Scher

WNPA Olympia News Bureau

Some convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession may be able to apply to have the crime vacated from their records.

Individuals would qualify to apply for the vacation if they were at least 21 years old at the time of offense, were convicted under Washington state law, and the misdemeanor is the only conviction on their criminal record.

Those convicted under federal law or local ordinances would not be eligible.

According to the House Bill 1500’s analysis, there are roughly 3,500 individuals who would be eligible to apply to have their records cleared.

“There’s no question that misdemeanor marijuana possession was illegal at that time, but the voters of our state stated very clearly … that they no longer felt the possession of small amounts of marijuana should be a crime for people over 21,” said the bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien. “I think that that’s a really logical and compassionate step that we can take.”

In January, Governor Jay Inslee announced an initiative to grant clemency to individuals in the same situation.

A vacation goes a step further than clemency. According to the governor’s office, a pardon is noted on someone’s record, but doesn’t wipe it completely. If vacated, the conviction would not need to be disclosed on employment or housing applications, and could not be used as part of a person’s criminal history in sentencing in a later conviction.

In September Seattle municipal court judges ordered the convictions to be set aside. According to the court opinion, the court’s possession of marijuana charges disproportionately impacted people of color. The court notified those who were eligible under the motion given “its potential to impact the rights of the defendant.”

HB 1500 has not been scheduled for an executive session. Its companion bill will have a public hearing in the Senate Law and Justice Committee on Feb. 12.

More in News

Man accused of running from law enforcement after car chase

A Clinton man who stopped his car in the middle of the… Continue reading

Popular Camp Casey pool is closed this summer

The swimming pool at the Camp Casey Conference Center won’t be open… Continue reading

Flight training through Sunday at OLF Coupeville

There are carrier-based flight training operations scheduled to occur at the Naval… Continue reading

Oak Harbor Police Department unveils new patch design

The Oak Harbor Police Department is changing the designs on its badges… Continue reading

Miller
Miller completes Air Force basic training

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Noah Miller graduated from basic military… Continue reading

Personal objection will no longer exempt children from school vaccinations

By Emma Epperly WNPA Olympia News Bureau The Washington House of Representatives… Continue reading

Holland Happening 50th celebration starts Thursday

Parade, carnival and food will fill the weekend

Attention shoppers: Walmart land is for sale, but store is here to stay

The land underneath the Walmart in Oak Harbor is for sale, but… Continue reading

WhidbeyHealth’s Telles presents CEO to-do list to board

Making budget presentations “zing” instead of sag is one of many admirable… Continue reading

Most Read