CO Governor Pardons 1,351 Convicted Of Possession

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis Photo: Wiki Commons

More than 1,300 people convicted of possession of less than two ounces of marijuana will have their criminal records cleared after Gov. Jared Polis announced Thursday he would issue a mass pardon.

Polis previously pardoned those convicted of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, but lawmakers in 2021 raised the legal possession limit of marijuana from one to two ounces. Those receiving the pardons did not need to apply and do not need to act further to clear their criminal record.

“Adults can legally possess marijuana in Colorado, just as they can beer or wine,” Polis said in a news release announcing the pardons. “It’s unfair that 1,351 additional Coloradans had permanent blemishes on their record that interfered with employment, credit, and gun ownership, but today we have fixed that by pardoning their possession of small amounts of marijuana that occurred during the failed prohibition era.”

Polis noted in his letter issuing the pardon that many low-level marijuana possession charges are filed as municipal offenses, which he does not have the authority to pardon. He urged municipalities to make changes allowing people with such charges to clear their records.

Polis also pardoned 15 people convicted of other crimes who served their sentences for crimes, including burglary, assault and arson. He reduced the sentences for three men currently incarcerated after reviewing their cases.