Oregon Activists Seek to Expunge Past Marijuana Offenses


Update: the expungement provision passed and then became a model for federal legislation introduced by Congressman Earl Blumenauer. 

Legalizing marijuana is a lifelong passion of mine and I certainly look forward Oregon creating thousands of new jobs and generating millions of dollars in new revenue. However, first and foremost, I am a civil liberties activist and I think that freedom is the foundation for marijuana legalization and I am most excited by the fact that thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens won’t be arrested and cited in Oregon each year after the Measure 91 personal legalization provisions go into effect on July 1st. And while it is great that we are improving marijuana laws moving forward, we still need to correct the injustice done to those convicted of marijuana offenses in the past. I was ecstatic when the Bus Project contacted me and asked if New Approach Oregon would want to join forces to help pass a bill that would expunge old marijuana convictions.

KATU News was there to cover the volunteer effort:

“If you have that on your record you have a tough time getting a house, you have a tough time getting a job, you have a tough time getting a federal grant loans,” said Aaron Brown, with Fresh Start Oregon.

The group made calls to supporters asking them to call their representatives in Salem.

They say it’s a long shot the bill will get passed because of how late it is in the session.

“We’re ready for a new direction and we’re ready to stop letting marijuana charges – and they’re super petty and minor – continue to ruin young Oregonians’ lives,” said Brown.

I am so proud of the volunteers that came out to make phone calls last night and that will continue pushing legislators to pass this common sense provision. Voters in Oregon spoke loud and clear–it is time to stop treating marijuana as a crime. It makes absolutely no sense to further hinder people’s lives for something that becomes legal in just a few weeks. If you would like to help, you still can, just head on over to the #FreshStartOregon campaign to sign up.

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.