State Watch

Colorado governor signs pardons for people convicted of minor marijuana possession

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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed an executive order Thursday granting pardons for state-level convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana. 

“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,” Polis said in a statement. “It’s ridiculous how being written up for smoking a joint in the 1970s has followed some Coloradans throughout their lives and gotten in the way of their success.”

Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana in 2014; possession of 1 ounce or less is no longer a criminal offense. Polis signed a bill earlier this year giving him the authority to pardon those with state convictions of up to 2 ounces of the drug. 

Individuals who qualify for a pardon don’t need to apply for one. Those who were convicted on municipal or federal marijuana crimes, or those arrested or issued a summons without a conviction, aren’t included in the pardons.

“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,” Polis said. “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.”

Marijuana possession of any amount is still illegal on the federal level. Last month, the House postponed a vote on legislation that would decriminalize marijuana federally. 

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