Questions Raised About Bill to Vacate Marijuana Convictions in Washington
OLYMPIA, Wash. - A bill that would allow Washington state residents to have their misdemeanor marijuana convictions vacated drew some objections at a hearing Wednesday.
Democratic Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon of Burien told a House committee that after Initiative 502 passed, legalizing the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana under state law, he started thinking about the thousands of people who have criminal records for activity that is now legal.
Fitzgibbon's bill would allow them to petition to have their convictions quickly vacated, rather than waiting the three years that people typically have to wait before petitioning to have convictions vacated.
However, the head of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys says the bill would allow people to have their convictions erased even if they had more marijuana than I-502 allows.
Misdemeanor pot possession has historically been defined as up to 40 grams, and under I-502, it's still a misdemeanor to have between 28 grams and 40 grams.