Don’t Overturn Old Marijuana Convictions

OREGON:  Oregonians will be able to use marijuana legally in just over a month. And, if some members of the Legislature have their way, some may get an unexpected benefit, as well. It’s a gesture that leaves one hoping cooler legislative heads will prevail.

State Rep. Ann Lininger, D-Lake Oswego, has proposed an amendment to House Bill 3400, the Legislature’s catch-all pot bill, that would allow those arrested for, or convicted of, a variety of marijuana-related crimes to have their records expunged.

There are limits, to be sure. Those convicted of Class A — the state’s most serious — felonies could not be granted amnesty, and there’s a three-year waiting period between conviction and amnesty application.

But the amendment would allow those convicted of Class B felonies to have their records expunged. Those felonies are punishable by as many as 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. Other Class B felonies in Oregon include money laundering and abuse of a corpse. Even in the world of recently legalized marijuana, a conviction on a Class B felony charge is generally not small potatoes.