Outgoing Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) told a local television station on Wednesday that he would pardon his son for a 2003 marijuana conviction.
Kyle Beebe, now 34, served probation after his arrest more than a decade ago for felony possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, KATV reported. Gov. Beebe, then the state attorney general, said at the time that his son would be treated like any other offender, according to KATV.
Kyle Beebe completed his probation in 2006. On Oct. 20, the Arkansas Parole Board recommended that he be pardoned. A pardon may restore rights that had been revoked by the felony conviction, including the right to bear arms, according to the Arkansas governor's website.
Gov. Beebe told KATV the pardon took so long because his son had not requested it.
"I would have done it a long time ago if he'd have asked, but he took his sweet time about asking. He was embarrassed. He's still embarrassed, and frankly, I was embarrassed and his mother was embarrassed,” Beebe told KATV. “All of the families that go through that, it's tough on the families, but hopefully the kids learn."
In his petition for a pardon, Kyle Beebe said that he was "young and dumb" when he decided to sell drugs.
"At the time of my arrest I was living in a fantasy world, not reality," he wrote. "I was young and dumb. At that time in my life I felt like I was missing something and I tried to fill that emptiness by selling drugs. I am asking for a second chance to be a better son to my parents and prove to them that I am the person they raised me to be."
The governor told KATV that he was willing to forgive his son for his mistakes.
"Kids when they're young do stupid stuff. He was no different. Liked to have broken his mother's heart. His mother and I were stereotypical parents from the different end of the spectrum,” Gov. Beebe said. "She was the enabler that tried to fix everything. I was the nuclear bomb thrower that thought you ought to shoot him. Somewhere between those two extremes was probably the right thing to do."
An Arkansas Parole Board spokesman said Beebe received no special treatment. Law enforcement didn't object to the recommendation for a pardon.
Beebe was first elected governor in 2006 and will leave office at the end of this year because of term limits. He will be succeeded by Asa Hutchinson (R), a former congressman and Drug Enforcement Administration administrator.