When voters legalized marijuana in November, prosecutors around the state started to throw out all the misdemeanor possession cases on their desks. That got one lawmaker thinking about all the misdemeanor possession convictions the state had racked-up and whether they should be tossed out too.
Having a conviction on your record, even one for something as small as misdemeanor pot possession, can really put a lot of hurdles in your life that you’ll have to get over.
Now that marijuana possession is legal, state representative Joe Fitzgibbon thinks it’s time to give those convicted of possession a chance to clear their records.
“Maybe we should find a way to help them start over so they don’t have this conviction on their record every time they go to apply for a job, or for housing or for eduction,” he said.
Fitzgibbon is sponsoring a bill in Olympia that would allow all misdemeanor pot possession convictions to be thrown out.
“Misdemeanor marijuana convictions are something that the people of Washington don’t think should be a crime anymore,” Rep. Fitzgibbon said. “This is about giving people a second chance. That’s the state’s interest.”
All a person would have to do under Fitzgibbon’s bill is go to a judge and ask for their conviction to be wiped from their record. It would work for those that were convicted and even those who pleaded guilty.
“There’s thousands of people out there who this is going to impact in a positive way,” said Fitzgibbon.
To give you a little perspective on how many people this would help, Fitzgibbon said there were more than 19,000 misdemeanor possession convictions in Washington in just the last five years.