The Columbian / Associated Press

Seattle court agrees to clear past pot convictions

SEATTLE — Judges in Seattle have agreed to clear past misdemeanor convictions for pot possession that were prosecuted before marijuana was legalized in Washington state.

The Seattle Times reports that all seven judges of the Seattle Municipal Court signed an order Sept. 11 setting out a process for vacating the cases.

City Attorney Pete Holmes filed a motion in April asking the court to vacate the convictions. He argued that possessing small amounts of marijuana is no longer illegal and clearing past convictions would right the injustices of a drug war that targeted people of color.

About 542 people could be affected. The ruling covers from about 1996 — when municipal courts, rather than county district courts, began handling those misdemeanors — to 2010 when Holmes became city attorney and stopped prosecuting low-level pot cases entirely.