Washington State Governor to Pardon Marijuana Convictions, to Effect Around 3,500 People

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced today that he plans to allow for the pardon of thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession charges.

Governor Inslee made the announcement at a cannabis industry summit in SeaTac, saying that 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.

“We have people who have this burden on their shoulders from a simple, one-time marijuana possession from maybe 20 years ago, and that’s impeding the ability of people to live their lives,” Inslee said in an interview. “It can damage their ability to get financing for a home; it can damage their ability to get financing for colleges, even simple things like going on a field trip with your kids.

“We should not be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal,” he said.

Several states allow for expunging or sealing marijuana convictions, though often the process is complex and difficult to navigate.