Gov. Brown pardons marijuana possession convictions

With just over a month left in her term, Governor Kate Brown has issued a sweeping pardon to Oregonians convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana.

The pardon, announced Monday, will benefit an estimated 45,000 people, according to a statement from her office. The pardon includes the waiver of approximately $14 million in associated fines.

The pardon only applies to those convicted of possession of no more than 1 ounce of marijuana before 2016, when Oregon legalized recreational use of marijuana for people at least 21 years old. Medical marijuana was legalized in late 1998 by a ballot measure passed by Oregonians.

The latest pardon applies to 47,144 cases where possession of marijuana was the sole charge and where there were no victims.

The move will not lead to prison release. The governor’s office said in a statement that there are currently no people in Oregon incarcerated for possession of marijuana. But it will make it easier for people with convictions for possession of marijuana on their record to find jobs, find housing and take advantage of training and education opportunities that may have excluded them.

“No one deserves to be saddled forever with the consequences 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 have to face housing insecurity, employment barriers and educational barriers as a result of something that is now fully legal and has been for years. My pardon will take away these hardships.

She said the pardon also has an equity side, helping the many black people and Latinos convicted of marijuana possession.

“I am taking steps to right the wrongs of a flawed, unjust and outdated Oregon criminal justice system when it comes to personal possession of marijuana. For the estimated 45,000 individuals pardoned for prior state convictions for marijuana possession, this action will help alleviate the collateral impact of these convictions,” Brown said in her statement.

The pardon will essentially expunge convictions by sealing them in court records within six to eight weeks.

The convictions may show up on law enforcement checks, but as a pardon. Some private companies may still have access to the convictions if they’ve already collected that data, the governor’s office said.

“If your conviction is pardoned, the state will inform private companies with data agreements with state courts that the convictions have been pardoned and most will remove the pardoned cases from their records,” the governor’s office said in a statement. a frequently asked question.

President Joe Biden in October pardoned thousands of Americans with federal convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana and urged governors to do the same. According to the National Organization for Marijuana Law Reform.

The pardon comes on top of 63 others since Brown took office in 2015, according to a statement from Liz Merah, one of Brown’s spokespersons. She has also commuted the sentences of hundreds of people. Last September, she had pardoned or commuted 1,147 people — more than all of Oregon’s governors over the past 50 years combined, according to a story in The protector. They included the early release of 963 people who had committed nonviolent crimes and met certain criteria.

By Lynne Terry of Press Partner Oregon Capital Chronicle

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