Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced pardons for more than 47,000 marijuana convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana Monday. The move comes weeks after President Joe Biden announced a similar pardon at the federal level, urging governors to do the same.
Brown said the pardons will affect about 45,000 people statewide and will forgive more than $14 million in fines and fees.
“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,” read a statement from Brown’s office. “This pardon does not apply to any other offense related to marijuana or other controlled substances. More information can be found here.”
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Brown said this will help thousands of people whose convictions have affected their ability to obtain work, housing or educational opportunities.
“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,” Brown said in a statement. “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. And while Oregonians use marijuana at similar rates, Black and Latina/o/x people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.
The Oregon Judicial Department will make sure all court records associated with the pardoned offenses are sealed as required by law due to these pardons.
“We are a state, and a nation, of second chances,” Brown continued. “Today, I am taking steps to right the wrongs of a flawed, inequitable, and outdated criminal justice system in Oregon when it comes to personal marijuana possession.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.”