Oregon Speeds Expungement For Marijuana Convictions

The Oregon House passed a bill to remove fees and ID requirements for expunging old convictions for marijuana possession from before recreational legalization in 2015. 

 Aptly-named Senate Bill 420 requires there be no fee for petitioning the court for expungement, and no need for fingerprinting or undergoing a background check. 

Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas) told reporters the bill is important for those “still paying the price for actions that we have decriminalized,” who have trouble finding employment and housing with these convictions on their records.  

Bynum, the only black member of the Oregon House, noted that these kinds of convictions negatively affect people of color at a higher rate, as they are twice as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Oregon compared to whites. 

Oregon joins many other states with legal recreational marijuana in adopting a system to handle these idiosyncratic convictions, like Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Washington. California’s laws expunge marijuana convictions automatically. 

By Ian MacRonald