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Colorado governor issues mass pardons for low-level marijuana convictions
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Colorado governor issues mass pardons for low-level marijuana convictions

Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed an Executive Order on Thursday granting full and unconditional pardons to almost 3000 Coloradans with past convictions for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. The order highlighted a brief history on the legality of marijuana in the state of Colorado: first, discussing the 2012 ballot measure Amendment 64, which legalized possession and use of the plant in limited amounts; and second, House Bill 20-1424  (HB 20-1424), which was signed into law in June of this year, allowing the governor to grant such pardons. HB 20-1424 went into effect this month.

Through his order, Polis pardoned exactly 2,732 individuals. The governor said of them:

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.

The order applies only to state-level, not federal or municipal convictions. Those who have applicable convictions under the order need not apply to be pardoned. The governor’s office shared a document answering frequently asked questions related to the mass-pardon, as well as a chart for individuals to use to determine if they have been pardoned:

Polis thanked Colorado General Assembly members Rep. James Coleman, Sen. Julie Gonzales, Sen. Vicki Marble, Rep. Leslie Herod, and Rep. Jonathan Singer on Twitter for sponsoring and championing HB 20-1424.