Rep Pushes Clean Slate for Federal Pot Convicts

     PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – An Oregon Congressman wants to keep people from being “caught in the middle” of federal law banning possession of marijuana and state laws that legalize it.
     Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer said on Monday he would introduce The Clean Slate for Marijuana Offenses Act , which would let people clear their records of federal charges for marijuana possession in two situations: if the drug is legal in the state where the crime occurred and in cases where less than one ounce was possessed.
     The act is based on legislation passed in Oregon, where recreational marijuana has been legal since July 1. Oregon made it easier to expunge old state convictions for marijuana possession that would now be legal.
     Recreational marijuana is also legal in Colorado, Washington and Alaska. Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states.
     More than seven million people have been arrested in the past 10 years for possession of marijuana, including state, federal and local law enforcement, Blumenauer said in a statement.
     “The penalties of failed prohibition policies should stop ruining people’s lives. The Clean Slate for Marijuana Offenses Act of 2015 follows Oregon’s lead to provide a pathway for expunging certain federal marijuana crimes,” he said.
     The Obama administration hasn’t made federal prosecution of marijuana crimes a priority, but that could change under the next president, Blumenauer pointed out.
     “People who were caught up in the federal criminal justice system for a marijuana offense that was legal under state law at the time should not carry around a drug record,” Blumenauer said. “I support legalizing marijuana at the federal level to put a stop to any state-federal conflicts once and for all, but it is also important that we create pathways for expungement for those who should never have been charged in the first place.”

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