Outgoing Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced Monday thats she’s issuing tens of thousands of pardons for marijuana convictions in the state.
The pardons will have an effect on approximately 45,000 people, her office estimates, and will apply to people who were 21 or older when they were found in possession of 1 ounce or less or marijuana before 2016 ― when the state first began allowing the drug’s recreational use ― so long as they don’t have any other charges.
“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,” Brown stated in a statement that many of these people were convicted because of their records. “face housing insecurity, employment barriers and educational obstacles as a result of doing something that is now completely legal.”
The American Civil Liberties Union released an affirmative statement, praising Brown. They also recently commuted sentences for dozens of minors convicted of crimes they did as children.
“We are grateful for Governor Brown’s use of clemency as a powerful tool to address our state’s outdated and racially-biased practices,” Sandy Chung, executive Director of the ACLU of OregonMonday’s statement.
Black people are in OregonAccording to the group, they are 1.8 times White people are more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession convictions than black people, despite the fact that they use the same amount of marijuana. This is the national average. rises from 1.8 to 3.73.
Brown acknowledged those discrepancies in her announcement Monday, saying she’s “taking steps to right the wrongs of a flawed, inequitable and outdated criminal justice system in Oregon when it comes to personal marijuana possession.”
Oregon is one of 21 states ― along with Washington, D.C., and the U.S. territory of Guam ― where recreational marijuana use is now legal. Despite mounting evidence, however, the federal government continues to ban the drug and considers it dangerous like heroin and methamphetamines.
Brown will be replaced by Tina Kotek, a Democrat, after reaching his two-term limit.