DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis has issued pardons to people convicted in state courts of possessing one ounce or less of marijuana.
The pardons, issued by executive order, don’t apply to convictions in municipal courts or in other states.
“We are finally cleaning up some of the inequities of the past by pardoning 2,732 convictions for Coloradans who simply had an ounce of marijuana or less. It’s ridiculous how being written up for smoking a joint in the 1970’s has followed some Coloradans throughout their lives and gotten in the way of their success. Too many Coloradans have been followed their entire lives by a conviction for something that is no longer a crime, and these convictions have impacted their job status, housing, and countless other areas of their lives. Today we are taking this step toward creating a more just system and breaking down barriers to help transform people’s lives as well as coming to terms with one aspect of the past, failed policy of marijuana prohibition.”Governor Jared Polis
Polis signed into law in June legislation authorizing him to grant pardons for people convicted of possessing up to two ounces of marijuana–the current legal limit for medical marijuana possession.
“I feel personally that it should have changed once recreational marijuana usage became legal for 21 and up,” Dylan Richardson, the assistant store manager at Quality Choice Dispensaries in Colorado Springs said.
Polis’ action affects 2,732 convictions–though some people may have been convicted on several charges.
Pat Mika, a Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney, said this is just the first step for these people being pardoned for these convictions. He said the next step should be getting the convictions expunged from their records.
“This executive order basically forgives the individual for the crime and acknowledges that the person has been fully rehabilitated,” Mika said.
Anyone who would like to know whether a conviction on their record has been pardoned can check the Colorado Bureau of Investigations website.