When Colorado became one of the first states to legalize marijuana, concerns arose over those whose criminal records included pot possession convictions. Since then, efforts to unravel the tangled web of people with now-antiquated laws on their records serving as a barrier to pursue employment opportunities and more.
Legislation that reflects the current times
Colorado House Bill 1090, recently signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis, increased the limit of recreational marijuana that state residents can legally possess to two ounces. While the increase represented only one ounce, another aspect of the bill can have significant positive outcomes for those arrested under the old law.
Coloradans convicted for possessing up to two ounces now have an easier path to pardons and sealing of criminal records. The one caveat is that they have not committed a crime since that one incident.
Over the next several months, he will review the criminal records of Coloradan. Referring to a “long shadow,” Polis acknowledges the impact of a criminal record that includes convictions of crimes that are no longer criminal offenses. Without the pardons, many Colorado residents would face struggles in securing loans, becoming licensed in their employment field, securing a job, or qualifying for a mortgage.
This is not the first time that the governor has taken this action. Last October, he pardoned approximately 2,700 Coloradans convicted of possessing up to one ounce of cannabis.
As with anyone who must deal with a past that includes convictions involving a crime that no longer exists, they want to move on with their lives. Providing them with a clean slate is an essential step in ending the potential backlash that comes with the discovery of a criminal record.