The end to the War on Drugs: Oregon moves to expunge records of pot criminals

In what’s being dubbed as an incredible nationwide precedent to finally rectify some of the generational damage needlessly created from the government’s “War on Drugs,” the state of Oregon has moved to expunge the public records of those inside their state who have been previously charged or convicted of a pot-related crime. Oregon’s righteous move is being carried out through “expungement clinics” ran by Portland’s Metropolitan Public Defender’s office. With this move, it’s now possible for anyone who’s at least ten years old, with any low-level felony or misdemeanor, to wipe their record clean as long as they have not re-offended. In 2016, it will even be possible for those with felony pot convictions, like growers, to be eligible for the record-sealing service!

With the legalization of marijuana sweeping the country, states like California and Colorado are running into a similar conundrum where people convicted of cannabis-related crimes are still feeling the repercussions from the time when marijuana wasn’t fully legal. An example of this can be found in California’s medical marijuana bill, SB 643:

“The licensing authority may deny the application for licensure or renewal of a state license if any of the following conditions apply: … The applicant or licensee has been convicted of an offense that is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession for which the application is made, … includ[ing]…:

“(A) A felony conviction for the illegal possession for sale, manufacture, transportation, or cultivation of a controlled substance.
“(B) A violent felony conviction, …
“(C) A serious felony conviction, …
“(D) A felony conviction involving fraud, deceit, or embezzlement.”

This essentially means that those who received felony convictions in California for distributing marijuana before its legalization are now frozen in a bureaucratic Catch-22, and cannot legally benefit from their new-found freedom.



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