Gov. Jay Inslee will offer pardons to thousands of people with misdemeanor marijuana convictions, in an effort to help them move on from minor criminal records that can hinder housing and job prospects.
Under the plan, Inslee will pardon anyone who has an otherwise clean criminal record but with a sole conviction as an adult for misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Washington state.
Such a conviction must have occurred under state law, not a local ordinance, between Jan. 1, 1998, and Dec. 5, 2012, the effective date of Washington’s voter-approved Initiative 502, which legalized marijuana possession for users age 21 and older. The governor’s office estimates 3,500 people will be eligible for the pardons under its criteria.
Inslee announced his plan, called the Marijuana Justice Initiative, Friday morning in SeaTac at the Washington State Cannabis Summit, an annual conference sponsored by the legal marijuana industry.
“We shouldn’t be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal behavior in the state of Washington,” Inslee said at the event. He said he believes there is broad public support for the expedited pardon process. [Read more at The Seattle Times]