The legislature in Oregon has voted to approve a law which will see the marijuana convictions of tens of thousands of Oregonians expunged so that those individuals can have a better chance at finding jobs, getting an education and having access to housing.
Senate Bill 420 seeks to clear all marijuana convictions which are no longer crimes from the time marijuana was legalized in the state in 2014. This means people who were prosecuted and convicted prior to 2014 can have their slate wiped clean.
This bill was initially approved by a 25-4 vote by the Senate in April. However, the bill was modified when it was taken to the Assembly, so the modifications were brought back for approval by the Senate. The State Senate repassed the bill with a similar 25-4 vote. What is now left is Gov. Kate Brown’s signature so that the bill becomes law.
It isn’t immediately clear how many people are eligible to have their criminal record wiped. This is because in the past, court records didn’t reflect the specific controlled substance that an accused person was charged with.
However, estimates put the number of people who were convicted for marijuana possession at about 20,000-75,000 individuals.
Once this bill becomes law, anyone who was convicted for a marijuana crime that is no longer in the law books can fill out a form asking to have their conviction expunged.
Sen. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) supported the bill and says it was long overdue since marijuana convictions follow someone throughout their life and make it hard for that person to get housing, find a job or get an education.
In a related development, the Oregon House also passed a bill granting the state governor authority to negotiate agreements with other states for the purpose of exporting Oregon’s excess marijuana as soon as the federal government tolerates or legalizes interstate marijuana commerce. This bill was passed on the same day (Tuesday, June 11) that the expungement bill was passed.
Supporters of Senate Bill 582 say that Oregon is being forward looking by passing enabling laws in preparation for federal reform of cannabis policies. Some even said that this bill isn’t an endorsement of the cannabis industry, but rather provides support for the business community since exporting marijuana would create more jobs and bring revenue into Oregon from the states with which it is trading.
It should be remembered that Oregon has a massive surplus of marijuana, and some people say about six years are needed to consume this excess if current demand levels are maintained.
However, opponents of SB 582 say that the bill is of no consequence since it is akin to hiring a financial advisor simply because you expect that you will soon win the lottery.
Analysts wonder what cannabis industry players like Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO) (OTCQB: CHOOF) and ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) have to say about the export bill passed by Oregon’s Senate.
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