More than 45,000 Oregonians have received pardons from their marijuana convictions according to the state’s governor.
Gov. Kate Brown’s (D) cannabis clemency decision, which also includes the waiver of more than $14 million in fines and costs, comes approximately one month after President Joe Biden handed thousands of pardons for federal marijuana possession cases and urged governors to follow suit.
The Governor of Oregon has announced that the state’s Judicial Department will work with the courts to formally seal all relevant possession records, despite the fact that pardons often provide less relief than expungements.
According to Brown’s administration, around 45,000 people will have their records cleaned of convictions for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana. Pardoning marijuana possession charges will clear 47,144 Oregonians.
“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,” Brown said. She also noted that people of color have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.
The pardon is limited for those who have been convicted of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana and are 21 or older, and only if there were no victims of the crime.
Brown stated that the Oregon Judicial Department would take the necessary steps to have all court records pertaining to the pardoned charges sealed.
In 2014, Oregonians voted in favor of a ballot proposal that legalized marijuana for recreational use, making it one of the first states to do so. On the other hand, voters in Arkansas, South Dakota, and North Dakota rejected legalization in November, joining those in Maryland and Missouri.