Colorado governor Jared Polis announced that he is going to be pardoning low-level marijuana possession for over 2,000 people. He was recently granted the power through a new bill that was signed in the state earlier this year.
The bill was passed by the General Assembly and included the power to “pardon those who have convictions on their criminal records for possessing up to [two] ounces of marijuana — the current legal limit for medical marijuana users,” according to the Denver Post.
Governor Polis told the newspaper, “This really catches Coloradans up with where the law is today.”
The pardon, however, does come with certain restrictions. This will only be applied to convictions that happened within the state of Colorado and through 2012, having up to one ounce that had an intended use of being recreational.
Polis said that he and the Bureau of Investigation worked together to figure out exactly how many people will be pardoned but the number wasn’t available for a while because there wasn’t a single person who was hit with more than one charge.
The governor also said that the reason he wanted to help these people expunge these charges from their records is that offenses like these keep people from obtaining things like student loans, jobs and/or concealed-carry permits. He said, “In addition to being symbolic, (the pardon) has real-life ramifications for people.”
This gubernatorial pardon is not an end-all-be-all fix for people getting these charges off their record. It would help when getting a background check on them — it won’t show up on a check like that, but will still appear on a law-enforcement criminal system with a note acknowledging the governor’s pardon.
“Whether it’s one or a thousand (people), my focus is to figure out by the time I’m done in the legislature how we not only pardon these individuals but figure out how to expunge it off their records,” Rep. James Coleman said.