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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Pardons Everyone Convicted Of Simple Marijuana Possession

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Gretchen Clayson Contributor
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Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued a pardon Monday for those in her state who have been charged with simple possession of marijuana.

“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 announced in a press release. “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.” The move will eliminate over 47,000 convictions from criminal records impacting about 45,000 people.

Calling the criminal justice system in Oregon “flawed, inequitable, and outdated,” Brown further added that “Black and Latina/o/x people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”

The announcement comes after President Joe Biden pardoned all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession last month and encouraged governors to do likewise at the state level.

“Just as no one should be in a Federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason,” he stated in a press release.

Biden also asked for the Attorney General and Secretary of Health and Human Services to review how marijuana is classified under federal law, arguing that the current Schedule I classification is meant for the most dangerous substances, such as heroin and LSD, according to the press release.

“Pardoning simple possession in Oregon is absolutely necessary to repair the damage done by the failed War on Drugs,” Democratic Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden stated, according to The Oregonian.

Wyden further expressed his hope that “every governor and state legislature” would follow Brown’s example, even calling on Congress to make changes at the federal level. (RELATED: Red State Voters Widely Reject Marijuana Legalization In Midterms)

“The American people have consistently shown overwhelming support for expungement and reform of our marijuana laws. It is time for Congress to step up and begin to right these wrongs at the federal level. As we approach the end of this Congress, I will continue to push for meaningful cannabis reform, and will fight to get as much done as we possibly can,” he stated, according to the outlet.