NOTE: Last chance to register for the Nov. 5 free legal clinic is 8 PM today, Monday, November 2.
Thousands of Oregonians may qualify to have old marijuana convictions erased from their records thanks to a state law passed this year. The Oregon Cannabis Association, the professional association representing cannabis business owners, is offering free legal services in North Portland on November 5 to help people clear their records.
“It’s a new day in Oregon,” said Portland attorney Amy Margolis, who leads the Oregon Cannabis Association. “Oregon is taking obsolete marijuana offenses off the books. They shouldn’t remain on people’s records, either. Having a record can make it hard to get a job or even a place to live. And it can bar people from participating in Oregon’s new legal cannabis industry. We want to make sure there is a level playing field when recreational retail business licensing begins in January.”
The new law makes it easier for people to expunge their records of certain marijuana offenses - but this doesn’t happen automatically, Margolis said. People hoping to clear their records must still navigate the legal system and file the correct paperwork with the court in the county in which the conviction occurred.
“The Oregon Cannabis Association feels strongly that people’s access to this critical service should not be limited by ability to pay for legal representation,” said Margolis, who said attorneys will volunteer their time to process the petitions.
The group says it chose North Portland for the location of the event because the way marijuana prohibition was enforced has fallen disproportionately on communities of color. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Black Oregonians are more than twice as likely as whites to be arrested on marijuana charges.
The November 5th Expungement Day is open to all eligible individuals with convictions in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas Counties. Visit www.newdayoregon.com for complete information and to see if you qualify. Space is limited, so qualified participants must visit the website to RSVP.