Colorado governor pardons 2,732 people with pre-legalization marijuana convictions |

Colorado governor pardons 2,732 people with pre-legalization marijuana convictions

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference on Sept. 29, 2020, in Denver.
Photo by David Zalubowski / AP Photo

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday issued pardons to people convicted in state courts of possessing one ounce or less of marijuana through 2012, when voters approved pot legalization in Colorado.

The pardons, issued by executive order, do not apply to convictions in municipal courts or in other states. Polis signed into law in June legislation authorizing him to grant pardons for people convicted of possessing up to two ounces of marijuana — the current legal limit for medical marijuana possession.

“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,” Polis said in a statement. His action affects 2,732 convictions — though some people may have been convicted on several charges.

The pardons don’t expunge or seal conviction records but will remove them from public records so they don’t appear on private-sector background checks, The Denver Post reports. Law enforcement checks will reveal the convictions but note the governor’s pardon.

Denver Democratic Rep. James Coleman, a sponsor of the bipartisan legislation signed into law in June, told the Post he hopes to get legislation passed to fully expunge the convictions.

For more information on the pardons, go to

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