The State of Washington is taking a different approach to helping those who have been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana crimes. Instead of expunging these records, Governor Inslee is offering pardons instead. The pardons don’t remove the conviction from criminal records, though.
The pardons are part of the Marijuana Justice Initiative, OPB says. An initial count of potentially eligible cases shows that about 3,500 people can petition for a pardon. Online forms must be filled out to start the process.
Deputy General Counsel Tip Wonhoff said, “We designed the web form to be completed in 90 seconds. It’s very simple. Once the petitioner completes that and submits it to our office, then we take over.”
Some of the requirements for eligibility include:
- 21 years of age or older at the time of conviction
- Misdemeanor status
- Only conviction on the criminal record
Wonhoff said, “Individuals who received pardons from the governor still have a criminal record. What a pardon will do is allow those individuals to state in their applications for employment or in their applications for housing that they have received a pardon from the governor for those offenses.”
There have been over 160 requests for pardons so far and just over a dozen have been granted.
Those seeking a pardon don’t have a deadline to worry about; there is no deadline for this program.