Gov. Inslee announces measure for pardoning marijuana misdemeanors
Washington state Governor Jay Inslee unveiled the “Marijuana Justice Initiative” Friday, with the goal of granting pardons to people with misdemeanor marijuana convictions.
Gov. Inslee’s pardons will come with the following caveats: the conviction must be for adult misdemeanor marijuana possession, it must be under Washington state law (not a local ordinance), and it must have occurred between Jan. 1, 1998 and Dec. 5, 2012 (when I-502 legalized marijuana), and it must be the only conviction on an individual’s criminal record.
“We shouldn’t be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal in Washington state,” said Inslee in an article published by his office on Medium. “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.”
Inslee’s office estimates that the initiative could pardon around 3,500 people.
“This is a small step, but one that moves us in the direction of correcting injustices that disproportionately affected communities of color,” the initiative’s official website says. It also notes that a pardon could assist with barriers to housing, employment, and education.
Anyone who fits the required criteria can fill out a form here to request a pardon from the governor’s office.
This comes days after Gov. Inslee sat down for an interview with The Atlantic, hinting at a potential run for president.
The interview’s author Edward-Isaac Dovere wrote that Inslee’s presidential potential is fueled largely by climate change policies. Should he run, tackling the effects of climate change and embracing new technology and industries will be a primary focus. It was this cause that the governor recently promoted on CNN.