Having a criminal record can make it more difficult to do things like find a job or housing, but it also poses a big problem if you’re trying to enter the legal marijuana industry. That’s why the state of Oregon has now made it possible for people to expunge, or erase, criminal records associated with recreational marijuana use.
This past summer, Governor Kate Brown signed SB 844 into law, which reformed expungement regulations in Oregon. In the past, a resident with a prior marijuana conviction on his or her record could apply to have the conviction expunged, provided that it was a low-level felony, misdemeanor or violation, and the person has stayed out of trouble for at least 10 years. SB 844, however, expands eligible marijuana crimes for expungement to include any Class C felony or misdemeanor for marijuana, including possession, delivery or manufacturing.
Expungement eligibility requires three years to pass since a person’s conviction or one year if he or she was under 21 at the time of the conviction. Further, a person is not eligible for expungement if he or she has violated probation obligations or has any pending criminal charges.
SB 844 expands expungement parameters, but it still involves a tricky legal process. Not only must the correct paperwork be filed with the court in the county the conviction took place in, but a person seeking expungement must also submit a motion and an affidavit in support of the motion, to the county court clerk along with a $252 filling fee. Next, a copy of these papers must be submitted to the district attorney’s office, along with a fingerprint card, and an $80 money order made out to the “Department of State Police.” After the motion is filed, the county’s District Attorney has three to six months to comment on the motion. If no comment is filed the offense will be expunged.
It has been reported that more than 50,000 residents can now apply to expunge marijuana related crimes from their criminal history. However, not many Oregonians have taken advantage of this trail-blazing opportunity.