Colorado’s Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order on Tuesday pardoning people who have been convicted for possessing up to an ounce of Marijuana.
CNN reports that this move follows the passage of a bill in June that granted the governor power “to grant pardons to a class of defendants who were convicted of the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana.” The law went into effect this month according to a news release from the governor’s officer.
“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 the release. “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,” he added.
Those who the Colorado Bureau of Investigation have identified as receiving state-level convictions are eligible for the pardons, with those found eligible being automatically granted a pardon with no need for an application. Those convicted of municipal marijuana crimes, been arrested, or issued a summons with no conviction will not be included in the pardons.
Colorado was the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana back in 2014, as well as the first place in the world to regulate weed from seed to sale. Marijuana sales have been a boon to the state, reaching $1.75 billion in sales last year and netting the state $302 million in tax revenue.
Considering recreational weed has been legal in Colorado for six years, I can’t help but wonder why this wasn’t done sooner. Like, substantially sooner. Regardless, this is good news for the thousands of Colorado residents who no longer have to live in the shadow of their criminal record.
“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.” Polis said.