Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) will mass pardon thousands of people convicted of low-level marijuana offenses in state court. The executive order will automatically apply, bypassing the need for the convicted to apply for relief.
The state has been a leader in legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational use.
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“This really catches Coloradans up with where the law is today,” Polis told The Denver Post.
Polis, who championed federal marijuana legalization efforts while serving in Congress, says his office worked with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to identify 2,732 convictions that should be pardoned. It’s unknown exactly how many people will be pardoned yet because one person could be convicted more than once.
The pardons will only apply to state court convictions. Some cities like Boulder and Denver have offered to pardon convictions, but only if requested. In the first six months after offering to expunge the conviction, fewer than one percent of eligible people got their convictions pardoned.
“In addition to being symbolic, [the pardon] has real-life ramifications for people,” Polis said, citing how the conviction can prevent people from getting jobs or housing.