This week, I stood with our City Attorney Pete Holmes to announce that our City is vacating convictions for misdemeanor marijuana possession. This is a necessary step to address the wrongs resulting from the “war on drugs” and our broken criminal justice system.
Throughout my career as a prosecutor, I have seen firsthand the devastating impact of the failed “war on drugs” strategies. That includes how our drug enforcement resulted in a clear racial bias that had disproportional negative effects on people of color and their families. For far too many in our communities, these convictions and arrests created barriers to good-paying jobs, credit, housing, and educational opportunity.
As a City, we must do more to expand meaningful opportunities for young people. This includes providing more effective alternatives to prosecution and incarceration through drug and mental health courts, restoring rights, and supporting re-entry.
Addressing the wrongs that were caused by the failures of the “war on drugs” for many years in this country – and particularly the damage wrought on communities of color – won’t happen overnight.
But I’m proud to say that as a City, we’re putting our progressive values into action. I hope other cities and counties in our state also act.
I hope you’ll read more about our decision in The Stranger. Please keep writing to me at Jenny.Durkan@seattle.gov, reach out via Twitter and Facebook, and stay up-to-date with all the great work we’re doing at City Hall through my blog.
Mayor Jenny Durkan