Washington Governor To Pardon Marijuana Convictions

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has announced he would expedite pardons for individuals convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession.

“We shouldn’t be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal in Washington state,” said Inslee in a statement at the Cannabis Alliance’s annual conference. “Forgiving these convictions can help lessen their impact and allow people to move on with their lives. It’s a small step, but one that moves us in the direction of correcting these injustices.”

The new Marijuana Justice Initiative will expedite pardons for adults with a single misdemeanor conviction for marijuana possession between Jan. 1, 1998 and Dec. 5, 2012, when possession was legalized. State records indicate 3,500 people are eligible for pardons under the initiative.

Several states allow for expunging or sealing marijuana convictions. Several cities have taken even bolder actions, moving to clear marijuana possession convictions en masse. Last year, the city of San Francisco’s prosecutors retroactively applied California’s marijuana-legalization laws to past criminal cases, dismissing thousands of marijuana-related convictions of residents dating back to 1975.

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