State officials have announced that starting July 15th, Oregon will begin issuing reparations payments to those previously convicted of marijuana related crimes within the past decade. The decision comes hot on the heels of the marijuana legalization measure which takes effect July 1st throughout Oregon.
Carol Shapiro is the newly appointed coordinator for the Oregon Department of Marijuana Reparations, and he elaborated on how this system will work to get those effected by previous laws, back on their feet. “These were essentially incidents that should have never have been tried as crimes to begin with. Thousands of people have payed dearly over the years for laws which have criminalized a substance that is basically less dangerous than any over-the-counter painkiller.”
“Individuals who was served prison time for drug offenses involving marijuana within the last 10 years will automatically be eligible for a refund of any fines and fees incurred as a result of those convictions, as well as compensation for pain and suffering endured from being incarcerated. These parties will also have their records automatically expunged. We are hoping that these actions will correct the injustices previously inflicted upon innocent citizens, and help them to go on with their lives.”
This news comes as a bittersweet relief to those who have faced serious consequences within the last 10 years for their involvement in marijuana growing operations. People such as Portland native Marcus Ford who spent two years in prison in 1999 after his marijuana growing operation was discovered by police. “What can I say. It’s not like I am going to get those years of my life back or get the job back that I lost at the time. I don’t think the federal government is aware of the scope of what people have had to deal with when they went to jail for things as innocuous as marijuana. I didn’t see my kids for 2 years. I spent an additional 4 years on probation. It literally made my life hell and caused my family so much stress and anguish. I am glad they are trying to make up for it, but basically no amount of money is going to replenish what I lost when I got locked up for growing. It’s a relief that they understand the error of their ways now, but keep in mind a lot of us have paid the ultimate price in this pointless war.”