Seattle judges have unanimously voted to vacate 15 years worth of marijuana-related convictions.

The ruling, which was proposed in February, will deliver a clean slate to city residents who were convicted of possession charges between 1996 and 2012 (the year recreational marijuana was legalized).

“We’ve come a long way, and I hope this action inspires other jurisdictions to follow suit,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes. “542 people have criminal records for holding something we can buy in retail storefronts today. In two short months, thanks to our Seattle Municipal Court judges, those convictions will be history.”

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“We’ve taken another important step to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs, and to build true economic opportunity for all,” said Mayor Jenny A. Durkan.

“For too many who call Seattle a home, a misdemeanor marijuana conviction or charge has created barriers to opportunity – to good jobs, housing, loans, and education. It created a permanent criminal record that traveled with people their whole life. And we know now that it disproportionately targeted communities of color.

“While we cannot reverse all the harm that was done, we will continue to act to give Seattle residents – including immigrants and refugees – a clean slate,” she added.

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