So About Those Other Marijuana Convictions (An Open Letter to Mayor Durkan)

Comments

1
Civic Dan Savage is the best Dan Savage! Thanks for this.
2
Uh...pretty sure the Mayor of Seattle can't simply vacate felony convictions tried at the county/state/federal level. You might of considered that before you wrote this patronizing and rude letter to a Mayor that is actually doing the right thing.
3
Rightly said, Dan. Typo on the redundant 'never'; nevertheless, a great statement.
4
@2, please Dan is an important elder in our community even when he's boneheaded and totally wrong.
5
Nope, I don't agree.

Possession was never a problem and of course those charges should be dismissed. It's an entirely different story for those profiting from the sale of (once illegal) weed.

But I'll make a compromise... If you want to let pot dealers off the hook, make them pay taxes and penalties on their illgotten gains. Then we can talk about vacating charges.
6
Jenny Durkan was a FEDERAL prosecutor. She can recant any testimony she gave, as well as write letters to appeal boards, judges, etc.

She can and SHOULD do this specifically for the cases in which she alone was responsible for the raids, arrests, charges, and felony convictions of MMJ dispensaries in Washington State.
7
@5 you do realize that when you go to prison for a drug charge, the government seizes your assets, right?

They've paid their fair share and then some.
8
“The logic here, of course, is that possessing marijuana should never have been a crime so it's unjust to leave charges and convictions for pot possession on people's records. Over in the UK they're pardoning gay and bi men”. The logic premise is faulty and a non sequitur. One cannot equate homosexuality which is an inherent part of being a human being with dealing drugs. It’s like saying all drug dealers are gay or bi and should have their sentences dropped. Dealers, specifically street dealers are usually not just dealing in pot but also dealing drugs such as meth, heroine, and stolen or otherwise “acquired” prescriptions drugs which is where the prison sentences end up getting longer. Is Dan suggesting that we should let opioid dealers out too because pot was just one of the substances they were caught with at the time of their arrests?
9
@8, I'm more worried that the #resistance movement is completely stupid when it comes to how government works. A mayor can't reverse felony convictions and what @6 suggests wouldn't do a damn thing. The judge handed down the sentence so either each individual conviction would need to be reversed or the best option (and only viable option) would be the Democratic Governor of Washington state issue a full pardon for all felony marijuana convictions.

Before you cry to resist what you don't like at least take some time to understand what you are undoing.
10
"It's now legal to deal pot. It's now legal to grow pot."

Not without the proper permits and licenses. Try doing either without and you'll still end up on the wrong side of the law. Should users be forgiven? Yes. Should that apply to users caught with a couple of plants? Probably yes. But the reasons for licensing and regulation (keeping crime out and quality assurance of the product) are still valid.

11
@2

*"might've"
12
Rather than calling on Jenny Durkan to do this, perhaps address the open letter to Dan Satterberg, who does have the power to start doing this.
13
This has to be dealt with at the state level. Felonies are outside the Municipal court systems jurisdiction.
14
This is especially important given the restrictions on who can be involved in the now legal market. Many folks are barred from participation in that market due to convictions for activities that are now legal and never should have been illegal in the first place. And those restrictions overwhelmingly fall on poor black and brown folks.
15
Just readdress this to Inslee and you're golden, Dan.

Anybody who's concerned and not just 'concerned' can also write a letter.
16
So sad that so many folks are so desperate to find an escape from the Real World.
Sadly, when the haze lifts, it will still be there waiting for you.
Live Life, don't hide from it.
17
But while we are about reversing the devastating effects of the failed War on Drugs we might as well deal with the opioid epidemic, as well.
Time to legalize Percocet and Lortab and make them freely available.
That will make everything all better.
18
@16, @17: Are you offering yourself as an example of how the chronic heavy use of drugs can ravage a human brain?
20
I think it's great that this is being discussed, but I'm also REALLY frustrated that, once again, a bill has been introduced into the Washington state legislature to reduce the maximum charge for any simple possession to a misdemeanor, instead of a felony, AB 1087, sponsored by Sherry Appleton, and it's gotten ZERO press as far as I can tell, ACLU hasn't said anything about it, there's no hearings scheduled, etc..Nobody should get a felony conviction on their record for possessing a small amount of any drug. I live in Oregon, we passed a bill to do this last year; California did this via referendum in 2014, but in Washington, depending on where you get arrested, you can very easily get a felony conviction for, just one example, picking a couple of the wrong mushrooms out at the coast. I know because that happened to me; ten psilocybin mushrrooms at Cape Disappointment, the Republican county prosecutor there won't reduce any charges no matter what (I had no prior arrests, was employed, etc) so I got a felony which cost me my career and a financial hit that I'll probably never fully recover from.
21
In the mid-1970s the City of Seattle decriminalized possession of less than 40 grams so it would be treated the same as a parking ticket. Sen. Michael Heavey, at the time a general in the war on drugs, dropped a bill that pre-empted the city ordinance. All of the soldiers saluted, it passed, and for some time the city didn't have an ordinance so all small marijuana busts were prosecuted in King County District Court by the county prosecutors as misdemeanors.
22
@20, thanks, raising this with my rep.
23
San Francisco is one of the more unusual civic governments in the US. It is both a city, and, thus, has a mayor, and a county, thus, has a board of supervisors. It is the only county so structured of the 58 counties in California and is officially called the City and County of San Francisco. The opposite is New York City, which is a city comprised of five different county-level administrative divisions called boroughs: Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Most place, there are several cities in a county (or borough or parish). Honolulu is also a combined city and county.