Washington governor approves pardon legislation

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The state is the latest to acknowledge mistakes were made in the past

Washington State’s governor, Jay Inslee, is set to give thousands of people in the state a break. He has signed off on legislation that will allow records of individuals convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession to be expunged. Inslee is one of a handful of lawmakers that realizes that mistakes were made in the past.

The plan, the Marijuana Justice Initiative, was unveiled last Friday during the Washington State Cannabis Summit in Seattle. Inslee said during the event, “We shouldn’t be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal in Washington state. 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.”

According to some calculations, the pardon could be given to as many as 3,500 individuals. The Washington State Patrol will begin to remove convictions from the records, but those convictions will remain for law enforcement use. Offenders wishing to have their records expunged will need to petition for the removal of the information.

By expunging the records, thousands of individuals will be able to have access to a number of activities, such as access to housing, student loans and employment. Some have even reported that they have been denied the opportunity to participate in their children’s school trips because of the convictions – an embarrassment that will no longer be an issue.


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