Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee, issued a statement on Friday (January 4) announcing a “marijuana justice initiative” which will help residents with a single cannabis misdemeanor conviction on their record to apply for clemency.
The initiative is intended to reflect the current change regarding the status of marijuana in the state. The Democratic Governor felt that it was unfair for state residents to continue being adversely affected by a minor marijuana possession conviction long after the substance became legal to consume.
Under the initiative, approximately 3,500 people would be eligible for clemency. This estimate was arrived at after looking at the records of the misdemeanor convictions between January 1998 and December 2012.
The initiative will only be open to individuals who are residents of the state and they were prosecuted within the state. Those with more than one conviction aren’t eligible under this plan.
Similar plans to expunge marijuana criminal records in other jurisdictions have been dogged by complaints that the process is slow and expensive, sometimes not worth the effort expended. However, Washington State will process the clemency applications online, and this should expedite the process and make it affordable.
Speaking at a marijuana industry conference, the Governor said it was unfair for people to continue finding it hard to secure financing, get jobs or even accompany their kids on some excursions just because a given individual has a marijuana conviction dating way back. Wiping such convictions from the criminal record of the affected people would allow them to have as much of a normal life as possible in light of the way marijuana law has evolved in the state.
The website through which eligible individuals can apply for clemency has a form that one must fill out. It is not clear at this point what else will be required once someone has filled that form. It is also not known how long the clemency application will take before an applicant knows the outcome of the application.
For now, everyone in the industry, including Global Payout, Inc. (OTC: GOHE) and Generation Alpha, Inc. (OTCQB: GNAL) are glad that the past will no longer unjustifiably haunt people who were found guilty of possessing small amounts of a substance that is now legal.
Those who aren’t directly affected by such a blot on their history may think that the marijuana justice initiative is too little and too late, but tell that to someone who wants to buy a home and his or her financier rejects the mortgage application after doing a background check on the person. The initiative may just be what a person needs to hope and believe in a better future.
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