Gov. Polis Pardons Thousands of Marijuana-Related Convictions
2,732 lives may soon change in Colorado. Those convicted of possessing one ounce or less of marijuana at the state level, which was legalized in 2012, will be eligible for pardons by Governor Jared Polis. This historic action may change countless livelihoods for the better, so it’s important to understand its implications.
Pardons are viewed as forgiveness for a crime and erase convictions from public criminal history requests. On criminal history checks for licensing or law enforcement, they will display the charges but indicate that a pardon was applied. In this case, municipal convictions are not included but pardons may still be granted by the municipality where the conviction occurred.
HB20-1424, the bill that makes these pardons possible, was created with the intent to help people with marijuana convictions on their records secure employment in the recently legalized industry. Representative James Coleman argued that there is a disproportionate amount of African American people who are unable to get a job in many industries such as cannabis, and experience restrictions on housing and college because of their criminal records.
Now, thousands of people can look forward to a clean slate and second chance in the world thanks to HB20-1424. It’s worth noting that no pardons will free people from incarceration, as no one is currently in jail for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana. Nonetheless, lives may still change dramatically.
Our CO springs criminal defense attorney, Aaron Gaddis, was interviewed on KOAA news about this matter because of his extensive experience in defending marijuana charges. He shared that this bill could help prevent more people from suffering limits to housing, jobs and opportunities for better plea deals. However, more work must be done to help Coloradans who have similar charges, such as increasing the pardon eligibility to two ounces of marijuana possession rather than one ounce.
Aaron has dedicated a large portion of his practice to defending marijuana charges and understands that while thousands of people with marijuana possession-related charges can put their pasts behind them, thousands more cannot. As such, our team will take this legislative victory as an opportunity to win even more pardons for people convicted of marijuana crimes by strategically negotiating for favorable plea deals and sentences alike.
Marijuana should not ruin people’s lives, and that’s why Gaddis Law works tirelessly to prevent such an outcome. Our criminal defense lawyer at Gaddis Law recognizes that a long road awaits ahead, but HB20-1424 is a significant first step. We look forward to helping those who have long deserved a pardon.