More than 47,000 Oregonians will have prior offenses pardoned in a move Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday. Brown said she will pardon simple marijuana possession offenses in certain cases, a move that will also see the $14 million in fines and fees associated with those offenses forgiven, KATU reports. The pardon, which will remove the criminal records associated with such convictions, will apply to cases before 2016 (the year after pot was legalized in the state) in which the person involved was at least 21 years old and the amount of weed involved was an ounce or less, as long as there were no other victims and no other charges involved.
Having the records in such cases removed will "[eliminate] barriers for thousands of people seeking employment, housing, and educational opportunities who have otherwise been ineligible," state officials said. Adds Brown, per Axios, "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." She notes that, while rates for cannabis use are similar across racial lines in the state, "Black and Latina/o/x people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates." (Read more Oregon stories.)