Washington Governor To Pardon Marijuana Misdemeanor Convictions

​Around 3,500 residents are eligible.

Washington Governor To Pardon Marijuana Misdemeanor Convictions
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Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday his plan to pardon thousands of misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions in his state.

The new plan, called the Marijuana Justice Initiative, will expedite the pardoning process for adults with a single misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction. This only applies to convictions between January 1, 1998 and December 5, 2012, the day recreational marijuana possession became legal in the state. 

Those eligible will need to fill out an online petition, and once it's approved by the Office of the Governor, the conviction will be removed from their criminal record. Around 3,500 people are eligible for pardons under the initiative, according to state records.

Gov. Inslee was against decriminalizing recreational marijuana in Washington state during his gubernatorial race in 2012. But he's since changed his mind, saying in a statement that people shouldn't be punished for something that's now legal in the state and "forgiving these convictions can help lessen their impact and allow people to move on with their lives."

The governor's initiative comes a few months after Seattle's Municipal Court ordered more than 500 misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions be vacated.