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We'll probably see a lot more stories like this one.

On Friday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced he will pardon thousands who were convicted of possession of small amounts of marijuana over the years.

The state made recreational use of marijuana legal about six years ago. "We should not be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal," Inslee said, adding, "We have people who have this burden on their shoulders from a simple, one-time marijuana possession from maybe 20 years ago, and that's impeding the ability of people to live their lives."

To receive a pardon, there must be no other convictions on a person's record. An estimated 3,500 Washington state residents are eligible.

Other states that have legalized marijuana are taking or considering similar action. And no doubt the trend—both legalization and pardons—will continue.

Maybe it's a good idea. Attitudes toward marijuana have changed—except on the federal level, where the drug remains illegal. But we can't help but remember that these people did indeed willfully break the law. Subsequent legalization of marijuana doesn't change that.

Perhaps in this case, though, mercy should trump justice.

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