People who have a misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction on their record in Washington State are now eligible to receive an expedited pardon under a program announced by Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Friday.
The governor rolled out his Marijuana Justice Initiative during a speech at the Cannabis Alliance’s annual conference.
“It is time to end marijuana injustice in the state of Washington,” he said. “It is the right thing to do because a simple possession conviction 20 years ago should not be a life sentence for a Washingtonian.”
If you have a simple possession conviction and no other convictions going back to 1998, you can fill out an online petition on the governor’s website and get the record cleared.
If a petition is granted, Inslee’s office will instruct the State Patrol to remove the person from the criminal records system that’s available to the public.
Inslee said his office estimates that about 3,500 Washington residents may qualify for the pardon.
“Although our voters legalized the use privately of marijuana, we still have an injustice today that thousands of people have on their records a criminal conviction for something that is legal today,” Inslee said.
“This is impairing their ability to reach their dreams and live their lives and raise their children,” he said. “Those convictions sometimes can impair their ability to finance a house, it can impair their ability to get a shot at a good job, it can stop them even sometimes from taking their kids for a field trip. And in itself, having a criminal conviction on your record is just not a healthy thing for people.”
The governor also acknowledged the somewhat narrow scope of the initiative and said individuals with other marijuana-related convictions can still go through the standard clemency request process if they don’t qualify for the expedited program.
Inslee hinted at this initiative last month during an interview on a BuzzFeed News program, AM2DM, where he was also asked whether he personally smoked cannabis. The governor denied that he did, though he said he grew it—a claim his office later disputed in an email to Marijuana Moment.
Photo courtesy of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
Read more from the source: MarijuanaMoment.net