Amid a flurry of rumors regarding his possible run for the White House in 2020, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced a limited program to pardon misdemeanor cannabis convictions stemming from 1998 to 2012.
“We shouldn’t be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal behavior in the state of Washington,” said Inslee on Friday morning at the annual Washington State Cannabis Summit, an event held by marijuana business interests.
Since the beginning of December, Inslee has been under scrutiny. The media in Washington reported that he quietly formed a federal political action committee (PAC) and made personal phone calls to key donors in hopes of raising funds to travel to target states. Although he’s lesser-known than candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O’Rourke, Inslee reportedly is banking on his stellar record of supporting environmental causes to win votes. Many 2020 candidates have expressed their support for widespread cannabis legalization.
The governor’s office estimates that some 3,500 people will be eligible for the pardons. But they must be looked over individually by Inslee’s staff first. A senior policy advisor to the governor attributed his support of the program to his concern over sweeping racism within the justice