Oregon makes it easier to expunge old marijuana convictions

The Senate already approved the measure but has to approve a technical change before it heads to the governor.

Posted: Jun 5, 2019 7:26 AM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Those with outdated marijuana convictions will be able to have their records expunged faster under an Oregon bill approved by the House.

Lawmakers voted 42-15 Tuesday to ease some of the bureaucratic hurdles involved in setting aside marijuana convictions that occurred before the state legalized the drug in 2015.

Those seeking expungement will no longer have to pay a fee nor will they have to provide fingerprints or undergo a background check.

Rep. Janelle Bynum says those with outdated convictions have trouble securing housing and employment and that they are "still paying the price for actions that we have decriminalized."

Bynum, the only black member of the House, adds that this issue disproportionately affects people of color. The ACLU reported in 2013 that blacks were 2 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Oregon than whites.

The Senate already approved the measure but has to approve a technical change before it heads to the governor.

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