Governor Brown grants pardons for Oregon marijuana offenses

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor Kate Brown is overturning marijuana convictions for thousands of Oregonians.

As Brown’s final term as governor comes to a close, she announced pardons removing over 47,000 convictions for possession of a small amount of marijuana. Her office said the pardons will remove barriers for people seeking employment, housing and 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,” said Governor 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. And while Oregonians use marijuana at similar rates, Black and Latina/o/x people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.

“We are a state, and a nation, of second chances. Today, I am taking steps to right the wrongs of a flawed, inequitable, and outdated criminal justice system in Oregon when it comes to personal marijuana possession.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.”

The governor’s office said, “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. This pardon does not apply to any other offense related to marijuana or other controlled substances. More information can be found here.”

The pardons also forgive over $14 million in associated fines and fees.

After the governor’s pardon, the Oregon Judicial Department will reportedly ensure all associated court records are sealed in accordance with Oregon law.

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