When President Biden pardoned more than 6,000 cannabis crimes last month, he called on state governors to do the same. Now Oregon Governor Kate Brown has done just that, pardoning approximately 45,000 people for cannabis convictions in the Beaver State.
The pardons impact anyone twenty-one or older convicted of possessing an ounce or less of cannabis before 2016. Pardons apply only to cases without victims and where possession was the only charge.
Applicable only to state-level convictions, the pardons will also forgive more than $14 million in associated fees. Much like Biden’s recent pardons, the move won’t result in anyone being released from incarceration. According to the governor’s office, no one in Oregon is incarcerated solely for possessing an ounce or less of cannabis.
In the full statement, Governor Brown says, “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’ll be watching closely to see if other states follow suit.