Less than two months after US President Joe Biden announced a federal amnesty for cannabis offenses – and urged state governors to do the same – Oregon is responding.
This week, Governor Kate Brown announced sentence reductions for past simple possession offenses that affect an estimated 45,000 people in the legal state of Oregon and save $14 million (18 .8 million euros) in fines and related costs.
“No one deserves to forever suffer the consequences of a conviction for simple possession of cannabis, a crime that is no longer prohibited in Oregon,” Kate Brown said in a statement.
“This amnesty will clear 47,144 convictions for possession of a small amount of cannabis, removing barriers for thousands of people seeking employment, housing or educational opportunities that would otherwise , would not have been eligible,” a statement from the governor’s office noted.
The amnesty will apply to convictions for possession of one ounce of cannabis (approximately 28 grams) or less handed down before 2016 and for which the person was 21 years of age or older. It must also be the person’s only charge and “there must be no victims”.
“No one is currently incarcerated in the State of Oregon solely for possession of one ounce or less of cannabis,” the fact sheet further notes.
“We are a state, and a nation, of second chances. Today, I am taking action to right the wrongs of a flawed, unfair, and outdated criminal justice system in Oregon when it comes to personal possession of cannabis,” Ms. Brown reports.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon applauded Ms Brown’s decision. “The failed policies of the War on Drugs – including harsh sentencing, overcriminalization and surveillance of Black communities – have perpetuated racial disparities in the criminal justice system and contributed to mass incarceration,” notes a joint statement. .
Several US states have already taken clemency measures
The governors of Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Washington state have already taken steps in recent months to pardon those convicted of minor drug offenses.
It depends on the state, but some records are automatically reviewed and erased, while others require eligible individuals to apply.