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.
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.