Marijuana has been in the decriminalization process since 1973 with many states over the years passing laws to either authorize the use of marijuana or prohibit it. It is time to stop treating marijuana like a deadly drug, when science and public opinion agree that it is relatively safe for adult recreational and medical use. With recreational and medical marijuana on the verge of nationwide legalization, marijuana growers and dispensaries are popping up everywhere.
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Seven years after Washington legalized the adult use of cannabis, Gov. Jay Inslee says he plans to pardon thousands of convictions for misdemeanor possession.
“We shouldn’t be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal behavior in the state of Washington,” Inslee said, while announcing his Marijuana Justice Initiative.
The Democrat, who is mulling a 2020 presidential run, made the announcement Friday morning at the Washington State Cannabis Summit. 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.
Inslee’s initiative does not require approval by the state legislature. He’s enacting it under his state constitutional clemency authority.
Several states allow for expunging or sealing marijuana convictions, and several cities have taken steps to clear marijuana possession convictions en masse. One new law in California automatically erases or reduces marijuana-related convictions.
Inslee called it an injustice that small-time convictions have hampered people’s ability to buy a house, get a job or chaperone field trips.
Following Seattle’s Lead
Inslee’s move came nearly a year after Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, working with Mayor Jenny Durkan, enacted a plan to clear more than 500 past cannabis convictions within the city’s municipal court system.
Holmes’s plan took months to work its way through the city’s judicial system. In September, Seattle Municipal Court judges approved the plan, which would wipe away the cannabis convictions of up to 542 people who were sentenced for offenses between 1996 and 2010. (Seattle stopped prosecuting low-level cannabis offenses after 2010.)
This article was first published on https://www.cannabisimp.com.