OREGON – An Oregon lawmaker has proposed a bill that would expunge some misdemeanor marijuana convictions from a criminal record.
Senate Bill 420 deals with misdemeanors relating to delivery, possession or manufacturing of marijuana. Since Oregon marijuana laws have changed over the years, if it is a misdemeanor that would no longer constitute a crime, it would be erased.
The bill would allow the Justice Department to look back at criminal records and determine who would be eligible to have those convictions set aside.
Additionally, the bill also said an individual would not have to pay outstanding fines or serve remaining jail time for those convictions.
“These are crimes that we've chosen should not be crimes anymore and people are actually affected by old convictions when they are applying for work and for housing,” Jesse Lohrke, an attorney with Lohrke Law said. “Helping them get those off their records is a great thing.”
Lohrke said if passed, the bill could benefit numerous people in the community.
"It would be great for those people, they'll have a better chance to essentially get better jobs, better housing or just overall into a better situation," Alex Traylor, a manager at Eugene OG said.
Ed Chartrand, a homeless man living in Springfield said he has a $600 fine from a marijuana conviction several years ago hanging over his head. He said if he no longer had to pay it, it would make a big difference.
"It would mean that that would disappear and it would take some debt off my hands, maybe even get [me] off the streets," Chartrand said.
The bill is still in the early phases of being considered.