KENNEWICK, WA - Have you ever tried to apply for an apartment or a job and have not gotten it because of a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, even though it's now legal in the state? Well, Governor Jay Inslee is making changes with a new initiative to make it faster to grant pardons.
"What Governor Inslee did today was set up saying that if people want to request a pardon for a marijuana conviction that they can make it directly to the governor's office and it will bypass the clemency board," said Andy Miller, Benton County Prosecutor.
If you do have one of these charges, you still have to be eligible for the grant and there are a few restrictions.
"So what he is focusing on is misdemeanor marijuana convictions, where that is basically the only thing on somebody's record, since the conduct back then would be legal now he is going to say if you want to apply for a pardon I'm going to grant one," explained Miller.
To qualify for this pardon, the conviction must have occurred between January 1st, 1998 and December 5th, 2012, prosecuted under Washington State law, and of course it must be the only conviction on your criminal record.
"I would assume that the majority of people think that marijuana should be legal in the state and then should approve of this procedure," said Miller.
Governor Inslee believes that forgiving these convictions will allow people to move on with their lives without these convictions causing additional burdens on people, their families, employers and their community.
Records indicate roughly 3,500 people are eligible under this initiative. To find out if you are eligible, click here.