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Gov. Brown pardons thousands for simple possession of marijuana in Oregon

By FOX 12 Staff

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    SALEM Oregon (KPTV) — Governor Kate Brown on Monday announced sweeping pardons for prior Oregon offenses of simple possession of marijuana, an act that the governor’s office estimates will impact an estimated 45,000 people across the state and forgive more than $14 million in associated fines and fees.

According to a statement from the governor’s office, the mass pardon will remove 47,144 convictions for possession of a small amount of marijuana from individual records, eliminating barriers for thousands of people seeking employment, housing, and educational opportunities who have otherwise been ineligible.

The pardon applies to Oregon convictions for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, in cases before 2016 in which the person was 21 years of age or older, where this was the only charge, and where there were no victims.

The pardon does not apply to any other offense related to marijuana or other controlled substances.

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 Today, I am taking steps to right the wrongs of a flawed, inequitable, and outdated criminal justice system in Oregon when it comes to personal marijuana possession.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

According to the governor’s office, the Oregon Judicial Department will make sure that all court records associated with these pardoned offenses are sealed, as required by law.

Last month, President Joe Biden announced he would be pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of “simple possession” of marijuana under federal law, as his administration takes a dramatic step toward decriminalizing the drug and addressing charging practices that disproportionately impact people of color.

At the time of Biden’s announcement, he also called on governors to issue similar pardons for those convicted of state marijuana offenses, which reflect the vast majority of marijuana possession cases.

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