Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced yesterday that he signed an executive order to pardon 1,351 individuals who had been convicted of cannabis possession prior to the state’s historic legalization reforms in 2012.
“Adults can legally possess marijuana in Colorado, just as they can beer or wine. It’s unfair that 1,351 additional Coloradans had permanent blemishes on their record that interfered with employment, credit, and gun ownership, but today we have fixed that by pardoning their possession of small amounts of marijuana that occurred during the failed prohibition era.” — Gov. Polis, in a press release
The cannabis pardons covered state-level convictions for people who were caught possessing up to two ounces of cannabis, which coincided with an update to Colorado’s cannabis laws earlier this year that raised the legal purchasing and possession limit for adults from one to two ounces. The pardons do not cover people who were convicted of municipal cannabis crimes or people who were arrested — or issued a summons — for cannabis possession but who were not convicted.
People who are unsure whether a conviction on their record was pardoned can request confirmation of a pardon through the Colorado Bureau of Investigations website, according to the release. If they receive a pardon, individuals who were once convicted of cannabis possession will no longer see the conviction on their criminal history through the state’s records checking system.
Colorado voters opted to legalize adult-use cannabis in 2012. The reforms took effect in 2014, making Colorado the first state to end cannabis prohibition.
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Colorado Gov. Pardons More Than 1,300 Cannabis Convictions