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Washington Gov. to Issue Cannabis Pardons

The misdemeanor cannabis pardons will only be available for people who were 21+ when arrested and it must be the only conviction on their criminal record.

Full story after the jump.

At the Washington Cannabis Summit on Friday, January 4, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced he would exercise his constitutional clemency authority to pardon state misdemeanor cannabis convictions.

Known as the Marijuana Justice Initiative, applicants must have been over 21 at the time of their arrest. Also, only arrests that occurred between January 1, 1998 and December 5, 2012 will qualify.

Estimated to affect some 3,500 individuals statewide, the pardons will only be available for those with a clean record with just one misdemeanor cannabis conviction. In his presentation, however, Gov. Inslee said people with more than one misdemeanor cannabis conviction could still go through the regular clemency process to have those convictions pardoned.

Qualified individuals need only fill out an online form to begin the process of receiving the governor’s pardon. The initiative does not affect local or federal cannabis crimes.

“For decades, people have faced criminal prosecution for behavior that is no longer considered a crime in Washington. 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, their employers and their communities. This is a small step, but one that moves us in the direction of correcting injustices that disproportionately affected communities of color.” Excerpt from the Marijuana Justice Initiative

Washington voted to legalize adult-use cannabis in 2012 but the state’s initiative did not address the expungement of any previous cannabis convictions.

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