Colorado law doubles amount of legally possessed marijuana

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Marijuana buds

FILE – This Nov. 27, 2015 file photo shows two marijuana buds displayed for a customer in Denver. A government report released on Tuesday, June 17, 2019 shows that pot use in pregnancy has doubled among U.S. women and is most common during the first trimester. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DENVER (AP) — Colorado residents can now legally possess up to 2 ounces (56 grams) of cannabis after a bill was signed into law doubling the possession limit for adults 21 and older.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday that he will now issue additional pardons under the new law to residents convicted of low-level marijuana possession crimes, The Colorado Sun reported.

Previously, people convicted of possessing between 1 and 2 ounces (28 and 56 grams) of marijuana had to file a petition with the court to try to have their records sealed, which included notifying the district attorney’s office that charged them and additional court hearings.

People are still required to file a petition, but the new law now requires courts to seal convictions so long as all the criteria is met. The new process only applies to people who haven’t been convicted of another crime since their release from probation or parole.

Polis said his office will begin reviewing records in preparation for additional pardons. He pardoned more than 2,700 people in October who were convicted of possessing up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana.

“The consequences for people who had a personal amount of cannabis, before it had been legalized, still has a long shadow,” Polis said. “For doing something that is fully legal today, they might have something on their records — of course that’s disproportionately people of color — that might get in the way of them getting loans or leases or licenses or jobs or mortgages or many other things.”

Democratic state Rep. Alex Valdez, who sponsored the bill, said the legislation is another step in unraveling the consequences of past laws, which disproportionately affected Black people and other people of color.

“We believe, like the voters did in 2012, that cannabis isn’t worth haunting people’s efforts to get housing or a job, and we are taking meaningful efforts to help people get on with their lives,” Valdez said.

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