Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) on Monday said she is pardoning more than 47,000 cannabis possession convictions in a move that will affect about 45,000 individuals, The Oregonian reports. The move will delete simple possession convictions for an ounce of cannabis or less dated prior to 2016, which is when the state’s cannabis legalization law took effect.
No one deserves to be saddled with the impacts of a simple possession of marijuana conviction—a crime that is no longer on the books in Oregon. I am pardoning these prior Oregon offenses, an act that will impact an estimated 45,000 individuals. https://t.co/mT9bcYzCcV
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) November 21, 2022
Brown said her reasoning behind the pardons was “to right the wrongs of a flawed, inequitable, and outdated criminal justice system.”
“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.” — Gov. Kate Brown, in a statement
Oregon‘s state-level cannabis pardons come after President Joe Biden (D) pardoned all federal cannabis possession charges earlier this year and called for the governors of each state to follow suit. So far, Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky, both Democrats, have announced mass pardons for simple cannabis possession charges while Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, said he will not pardon low-level cannabis possession charges in the state.
An October poll found that a majority of Americans supported Biden’s move to pardon low-level cannabis offenses.
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