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Tuesday, March 26, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington

Inslee offers online pardon process for some pot convictions

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 4, 2019, 9:25 p.m.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee takes a question from a reporter during the Associated Press’ annual Legislative Preview, on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee takes a question from a reporter during the Associated Press’ annual Legislative Preview, on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (Ted S. Warren / AP)

OLYMPIA – Washington residents who have a single misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction can get a pardon from Gov. Jay Inslee by filling out an online form.

Inslee announced a “Marijuana Justice Initiative” Friday which he says will recognize an “evolution” in the state’s attitude toward the drug and allow them to “move on with their lives without these convictions causing additional burdens.”

People shouldn’t be punished for something that is no longer illegal in Washington, he said in unveiling the initiative.

A person who has a single conviction as an adult for misdemeanor marijuana possession in Washington between Jan. 1, 1998, and Dec. 5, 2012, can fill out an online form seeking a pardon. Voters approved the use of medical marijuana with an initiative that passed in 1998, and approved adult use of recreational marijuana by initiative in 2012.

The conviction must be the only one on that person’s record, and prosecuted under state law, not a local ordinance. The person can’t be facing pending charges in the state or elsewhere.

The form requires the jurisdiction where the offense occurred, the court case number and the date of the conviction.

Jaime Smith, a spokeswoman for Inslee, said an initial review estimates some 3,500 Washington residents could be eligible for a pardon under the initiative, but there’s no estimate yet on how many will apply.

The governor’s office will review the information and compare it to court data to determine whether the person is eligible for a pardon under the initiative. Requests will be reviewed in the order they are received and the process may take weeks.

Those who qualify will get a formal pardon letter sent to them, to the court where the conviction occurred and to the Washington State Patrol. Those who don’t qualify can still request a standard pardon through the Clemency and Pardons Board.

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