Target: Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon
Goal: Praise efforts to erase the criminal records of those convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses.
The state of Oregon has announced it will begin expunging the records of those found guilty of misdemeanor, low-level felony, and non-traffic related marijuana violations upon request. The state is the first in the U.S. to begin addressing criminal records associated with recreational marijuana use, which is now legal in many states across the country. Those that have not had any marijuana convictions in the past ten years will be eligible, while those who were convicted while under the age of 21 will receive a fast-tracked expungement.
Even low-level misdemeanor marijuana convictions can have serious effects on the lives of adults in the U.S. These convictions appear on background checks and often make it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain employment in certain fields such as law enforcement or education. They can also hinder efforts to obtain rental housing. For younger offenders, these types of convictions can have negative effects on student loan prospects and volunteer opportunities for resume-building, putting them at a clear disadvantage when trying to establish a career.
These types of disadvantages, which were terribly disproportionate even when recreational marijuana use was illegal, are now completely unnecessary and unfair. By becoming the first state to begin expunging marijuana offense records, Oregon is giving thousands of non-violent marijuana users a fair chance at education, employment, and housing. Sign the petition below to applaud Oregon’s efforts to remove marijuana offenses from criminal records.
Dear Governor Kate Brown,
After legalizing marijuana earlier in 2015, the state of Oregon is beginning to address what becomes of marijuana convictions made before the drug was legalized. Now, those with misdemeanor, low-level felony, and non-traffic related violations will be able to have the offenses expunged from their records completely. This will allow those with marijuana-related offenses to escape the disadvantages a criminal record can bring, including lowered employment opportunities, refusal of bank loans, and difficulty finding rental housing.
Thanks to these efforts, non-violent marijuana users will finally have the chance to choose a career in any field, obtain student loans in order to further their educations, and obtain housing in safe neighborhoods. We, the undersigned, thank you for being quick to address the unfair disadvantages that those convicted of marijuana-related offenses face in society.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Cannabis Training University