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Washington Governor to pardon marijuana convictions

January 7th, 2019 | Tags: marijuana Washington Jay R. Inslee Seattle
Washington Governor Jay R. Inslee said he plans to pardon thousands of people convicted of small-time possession charges, the latest in a series of moves by states and cities to ease the burdens people face from having minor criminal records for using pot. Photo: Internet Source
Associated Press

SEATTLE, USA— More than six years after the state legalized the adult use of marijuana, Washington Governor Jay R. Inslee said he plans to pardon thousands of people convicted of small-time possession charges, the latest in a series of moves by states and cities to ease the burdens people face from having minor criminal records for using pot.

The Democrat, who is mulling a 2020 presidential run, made the announcement at a cannabis industry summit in SeaTac, south of Seattle.

Inslee said 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.

No punishment for legal acts

“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, but obtaining such relief has typically been onerous, requiring a lawyer or court appearances.

As more states have eased marijuana laws or followed the lead of Washington and Colorado in legalising recreational pot use since 2012, some cities, counties and states have simplified the process of clearing convictions.

Seattle, San Francisco, Denver and some local prosecutors in New York City, where marijuana remains illegal, are clearing old marijuana convictions en masse, and a new law in California requires prosecutors to erase or reduce an estimated 220,000 pot convictions.

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