Colorado Clemency For Low-Level Cannabis Convictions

Colorado Clemency For Low-Level Cannabis Convictions - Marijuana Packaging

When Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 2021-1090, it authorized the Governor to grant pardons to defendants convicted of possessing up to two ounces of marijuana. Gov. Polis has granted three commutations, fifteen individual pardons, and signed an executive order granting over 1,300 pardons.

The pardons apply to state-level convictions. Individuals issued a summons or arrested without a conviction are not included in the amnesty. The Governor also noted that low-level marijuana possession charges are filed as municipal offenses, which he does not have the authority to pardon. Polis urged municipalities to clear the records of people with those charges. Individuals who have these convictions do not need to apply for pardons, and the Governor’s Office has not conducted individual assessments of those pardoned.

Individuals who are unsure of their status can fill out a form on the Colorado Bureau of Investigations website requesting confirmation of a pardon. Once a conviction is pardoned, it will not appear on a criminal history obtained on the records check website.

House Bill 2021-1090 increases the amount of marijuana that adults 21 and older in Colorado can legally possess to two ounces. 

“Adults can legally possess marijuana in Colorado, just as they can beer or wine. It’s unfair that 1,351 additional Coloradans had permanent blemishes on their record,” said Governor Polis. “But today we have fixed that by pardoning their possession of small amounts of marijuana that occurred during the failed prohibition era.”

Governor Polis’s Executive Clemency Advisory Board reviews clemency applications and makes recommendations to the Governor for commutations and pardons.


  • Ronald Johnson served more than 20 years of a 96-year sentence for theft, forgery, and drug charges. Johnson will be released to parole on January 15.
  • Nicholas Wells served ten years of a 48-year sentence for convictions including possession of a forgery device, motor vehicle theft, and burglary. Wells will be eligible for parole on January 15.
  • Rogel Aguilera-Mederos was convicted for his role in a crash on Interstate 70 that killed four people. His sentence was reduced from 110 years to 10 years.


  • Travis Cleveland pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary in 2000.
  • Henry Cruz Moreno pleaded guilty to menacing in 2000.
  • Joseph Dacosta Murillo pleaded guilty to assault, conspiracy to commit burglary, and drug possession in 1982, 1983, and 1988.
  • Anthony Formby pleaded guilty to first-degree arson in 1980.
  • Rudolph Garcia pleaded guilty to possession/sale of a controlled substance in 1997.
  • Stephanie Marie Gssime pleaded guilty to theft in 1995.
  • Michael Jordan pleaded guilty to the distribution of marijuana and possession of a defaced firearm in 1997.
  • Timothy Ryan Lewis pleaded guilty to theft in 1999.
  • Reginald McGriff pleaded guilty to assault, forgery, and criminal attempt in 1996.
  • Miguel Navarro pleaded guilty to menacing in 2006.
  • Ryan Nguyen pleaded guilty in 2008 to distributing a controlled substance.
  • Shawn Phillips pleaded guilty to criminal attempt and harassment in 1994.
  • Armando Solano pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in 2008.
  • Mohammed Suleiman pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a controlled substance in 2006.
  • Theresa Yoder pleaded guilty to drug possession in 2006.

Polis pardoned 15 people convicted of other crimes, including burglary, assault, and arson, who served their sentences. After reviewing their cases, he reduced the penalties for three men currently incarcerated. Those receiving the pardons did not need to apply. They aren’t required to act further to clear their criminal record.

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