Outgoing Governor Kate Brown announced this week she would pardon an estimated 45,000 individuals convicted of prior Oregon offenses of simple possession of marijuana, an act that will also forgive more than $14,000,000 in associated fines and fees.
The governor’s office says the pardon will remove 47,144 convictions for possession of a small amount of marijuana from individual records, eliminating barriers for thousands of people seeking employment, housing and educational opportunities who have otherwise been ineligible.
The pardon applies to electronically available Oregon convictions for possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana, in pre-2016 cases in which the person was 21 years of age or older, where this was the only charge, and where there were no victims.
It does not apply to any other offense related to marijuana or other controlled substances, Brown said. More information can be found in a list of frequently asked questions her office shared here.
“No one deserves to be forever saddled with the impacts of a conviction for simple possession of marijuana — a crime that is no longer on the books in Oregon,” said Brown.
“Oregonians should never face housing insecurity, employment barriers, and educational obstacles as a result of doing something that is now completely legal and has been for years. My pardon will remove these hardships.”
While Oregonians use marijuana at similar rates across racial demographics, Black and Latino people have been arrested, prosecuted and convicted at disproportionate rates, Brown said.
“We are a state, and a nation, of second chances,” the governor said, adding she was “taking steps to right the wrongs of a flawed, inequitable, and outdated criminal justice system in Oregon when it comes to personal marijuana possession.
“For the estimated 45,000 individuals who are receiving a pardon for prior state convictions of marijuana possession, this action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.”
Following the governor’s pardon, the Oregon Judicial Department will ensure that all court records associated with these pardoned offenses are sealed, as required by law.
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