WASHINGTON - Seven years after Washington legalized the adult use of marijuana, Gov. Jay Inslee says he plans to pardon thousands of convictions for misdemeanor pot possession.
The Democrat, who is mulling a 2020 presidential run, made the announcement Friday at a cannabis industry summit. Inslee said he was creating an expedited process that would allow about 3,500 people to apply for and receive a pardon without having to hire a lawyer or go to court.
Several states allow for expunging or sealing marijuana convictions, and several cities have taken steps to clear marijuana possession convictions en masse. One new law in California automatically erases or reduces marijuana-related convictions.
Inslee called it an injustice that small-time convictions have hampered people's ability to buy a house, get a job or chaperone field trips.
The initiative will provide an expedited process to grant pardons to people with a single misdemeanor conviction on their criminal record for adult marijuana possession prosecuted under Washington state law.
Under this initiative, Inslee will exercise his constitutional clemency authority to pardon individuals who have a single conviction on their criminal record. That sole conviction must be for adult misdemeanor marijuana possession, prosecuted under state law in Washington. The conviction must have happened between January 1, 1998 and December 5, 2012, when I-502 legalized marijuana possession.
Records show that roughly 3,500 individuals are eligible under this Initiative.
Those interested in requesting a pardon must complete the online petition form found by clicking here.