Jessica Paterson

Oregon House Passes Expungement Reforms

The Oregon House of Representatives has approved a measure easing the expungement process for low-level cannabis crimes, removing fees associated with the process and lowering ID requirements.

Full story after the jump.

The Oregon House has passed a measure to make expunging low-level cannabis crimes easier, including removing all fees associated with the process and lowering the identification requirement thresholds, the Corvallis Advocate reports.

The measure, which passed 41-16, removes the requirements for fingerprinting and undergoing background checks for expunging cannabis-related records.

The bill does allow prosecuting attorneys the opportunity to contest an expungement “if the office believes the person’s conviction is not for an offense eligible for a set aside,” according to legislative documents.

The legislature initially passed expungement laws in 2014 but there is no available data on how many charges have been sealed in the state under the regime.

In neighboring Washington state, an expungement bill passed in April is expected to clear about 69,000 criminal records. Some California officials, meanwhile, have used an algorithm to speed up the expungement process for as many as 50,000 old cannabis charges.

Expungement has become a key issue in the legalization conversation nationwide; language for overturning cannabis convictions was included in the cannabis legalization bill passed by Illinois lawmakers last month. In other states, such as New York and New Jersey — where lawmakers are currently considering cannabis legalization bills — expungement language has been included in the proposals.

The Oregon Senate is expected to vote on the bill on June 30.

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