Colorado Governor to Pardon Thousands of Cannabis Possession Convictions

Photo by Joshua Lawton licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

With the onslaught of so much bad news lately, it’s refreshing to hear some good news for a change. Well, we’ve got it, and it’s big. Colorado Governor Jared Polis has received the OK from the state’s General Assembly to pardon thousands of cannabis possession convictions.

According to House Bill 1424, the governor has the authority to issue mass pardons for people convicted of possessing up to two ounces of cannabis. This aligns with what the current legal limit is when it comes to how much cannabis those using it for medicinal reasons can have at any one time.

Using the power of an executive order, the governor plans to mass-pardon 2,732 marijuana possession convictions. This new pardon, while not hitting the two-ounce limit, does apply to anyone who was convicted through 2012 for upwards of an ounce of recreational-use cannabis.

Perhaps the real hero here is representative Jonathan Singer, who, as one of his last actions as a lawmaker, got an amendment attached to a bill that allows prior convictions to be cleared. Ever since 2012, due to the people of Colorado overwhelmingly voting to legalize cannabis, it has been legal for people to have up to an ounce of recreational cannabis. Now, those who were convicted prior to the legalization of the herb will no longer have that black spot on their records.

Fairness and Equality Restored

It’s no secret that drug laws have always seemed to have affected different people disproportionately. It has been a major blind spot for a long time, until now. Convictions such as those for cannabis possession blocked otherwise upstanding residents from getting jobs, student loans, concealed-carry permits, and more. This mass-pardoning of thousands of convictions will have tremendous real-lime results for the betterment of many lives and families.

While the convictions will get removed from public records, they will still be appearing in law enforcement background checks. However, they will have a note attached saying they were pardoned by the governor. However, representative James Coleman is focused on getting even those expunged from the records of previously-convictions state residents.

A move like this has been a long time coming, eight years in fact. However, it’s great to see Colorado restoring fairness and equality for those who got swept up in the War on Drugs before legalization came to the state.

How to check if the pardon applies?

If someone has a conviction of a low-level marijuana possession, they can go to to check if the pardon will apply.