Washington law makes it easier to expunge records

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A new law will wipe records, no questions asked

Washington State legalized marijuana consumption six years ago, but many people were still marked as outcasts because of entries on their permanent records related to marijuana possession. As of this week, though, this is changing thanks to a new state law that allows people with certain convictions to expunge their records as simply as making a request.

Senate Bill 5605 allows Washington residents with misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions to apply to have the convictions removed, provided they were 21 years old or older at the time the entry was placed in the record. Previously, courts had to intervene and decide on the expungement.

Representative Joe Fitzgibbon supported the change in law and states, “There are a lot of people who have a conviction on their record that makes it harder for them to do a lot of things that we take for granted, like get an apartment or apply to college. If the voters of the state have decided this isn’t a crime anymore, why are we still holding this against people, when the voters have decided it is not a serious offense?”

According to public records, over 68,000 residents in the state have misdemeanor marijuana charges on their records and these are all now eligible to take advantage of the new law, which went into effect this past Sunday. In order to use the new law, a person only has to visit the court where the sentence was delivered and submit a formal petition. The entry or entries will then be stricken from the records.