Washington Governor Jay Inslee has announced plans to pardon individuals who were found guilty of marijuana possession within the state prior to the legislation that legalized marijuana use.
The laws went into effect six years ago, and Gov. Inslee made the announcement Jan. 4 that Washington will be implementing a streamlined system to pardon those individuals with convictions related to marijuana possession.
The governor stated that current punishments for a crime that has not been a crime for six years is pointless, noting the six-year timeframe in which use has been legal.
The process to have the crime wiped from your record only applies to those with a single conviction and those who received said conviction between 1998 and 2012. The process will be expedited for those who fit the criteria, and a form is available on the governor’s website to begin the process for pardon.
The pardon will not completely remove the conviction, however. It will be available to law enforcement and also will remain on the person’s record — although it is removed from the criminal history available to the public. In order to be fully forthcoming, the individual still must list the conviction on job applications that ask if a person has been convicted of a crime.
The process to have a conviction fully vacated must be done through court proceedings. This situation is not changed by the fact a governor issues a pardon.
Gov. Inslee joins the likes of previous Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who pardoned 300 people who had minor marijuana convictions in 2017. Meanwhile, the Seattle Municipal Court has also moved to pardon 500 people who were convicted of marijuana possession between 1996 and 2010.
Other states have included plans or measures to pardon those convicted of marijuana possession in their marijuana legalization laws if they have completed the process in the last few years.
Officials in Denver, Colo. have implemented a plan to deal with convictions related to marijuana possession in the state, and California also has a system to determine whether a conviction can be pardoned or expunged, with numerous convictions pardoned that were related to drug possession.
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