Washington state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D) has a novel idea: now that marijuana is legal in the state, he wants people convicted of minor, state-level marijuana offenses to get a clean slate.
Fitzgibbon introduced H.B. 1661 on Feb. 5, a bill that he told Raw Story was inspired by Washington prosecutors who dropped all of their pending misdemeanor marijuana cases in December following legalization’s passage at the ballot box.
“That got me thinking of the thousands of Washingtonians who have a misdemeanor marijuana conviction on their record, and if there wasn’t something we could do to help them out, help them get a fresh start with their lives,” he said.
Many times a marijuana conviction can disqualify one for numerous jobs, public housing opportunities and educational financing: harms Fitzgibbon hopes to undo by allowing prior offenders to petition for their charges to be vacated.
“Since the voters of Washington clearly believe that possession of small amounts of marijuana is not something that’s a crime in our state, I thought that maybe we can offer a second chance to people who have that crime on their record,” he said.