OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A bill that would allow Washington state residents to have their misdemeanor marijuana convictions vacated drew some objections at a hearing in Olympia.
Democratic Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon of Burien told a House committee Wednesday 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. His 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 making such a request.
But the head of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Tom McBride, noted that 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 even under I-502, it's still a misdemeanor to have between 28 grams — the equivalent of an ounce — and 40 grams.