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Governor Jared Polis signed a bill giving him the power to pardon those accused of possessing two ounces of marijuana or less before the state legalized the plant in November 2012, and he confirms that he intends to do so Power to use.
Originally designed to define applicants for social justice in the marijuana industry, MP James Coleman’s 1424 House Bill eventually included an amendment that gave Colorado governors the right to issue mass pardons with the approval of local judges or district attorneys. The new law goes into effect September 14, ninety days after the final adjournment of the Colorado Legislature.
“There are too many people who have a criminal record for having personal amounts of cannabis that are completely legal today and that prevent them from getting loans, getting leases, raising capital, getting jobs, getting licenses, Taking out mortgages – and that’s’ wrong, “Polis said before signing the bill.” We hope this move is the first step into new opportunities for thousands of Coloradans who shouldn’t be living with a cloud over their heads just because they were a little ahead of their time. “
Polis will be able to issue pardons en masse for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana – the Colorado possession limit for medical marijuana patients – but ex-offenders still have to seek their pardon as there is currently no state database one list contains all the crimes of marijuana possession. However, the process is expected to be streamlined after its implementation is worked out by the Polis administration and the Colorado Attorney General.
Polis signed the upcoming bill at Simply Pure pharmacy in Denver.
According to Sarah Gersten, executive director of the marijuana criminal reform organization Last Prisoner Project, Colorado’s procedures for a marijuana pardon will be relatively straightforward compared to the state’s current record-sealing options, as well as the majority of other states that require judicial petitions and judge approval .
“You still have to file a motion or apply to have your file deleted, but it’s still a much easier process than filing a legal motion. And what we’ve noticed over the past few years is that there’s a really big gap in acceptance around petition-based litigation, “says Gersten of the current litigation in Colorado as well as other marijuana extinction states like Nevada.
“By placing authority in the executive [branch], it cuts off part of that work. That doesn’t deny that it’s resource intensive … It will take time for the Justice Department and local authorities to work through their systems. “
Upon signing, Polis confirmed that he would grant a mass pardon, but did not offer a date.
Polis signed the bill on June 29 at Simply Pure Dispensary, a Denver marijuana store owned by Wanda James; She and her husband Scott Durrah were the first African Americans to be legally licensed in America to own a pharmacy, grow facility, and food business. James, a former polis campaign advisor, helped move the proposal forward.
“Social justice is about redressing the injustices of the drug war and giving a strong hold to diversity in the developing industry. We all know that the drug war wrongly targeted people and communities of color, and left families and people stuck in the criminal justice system for decades, ”says James. “We legalized a plant and too many colored people couldn’t take part in this new market opportunity.”
In addition to the governor’s new pardon, HB 1424 is creating an applicant definition for the state’s marijuana business accelerator licenses and future social justice programs: An applicant must be a Colorado resident who has been arrested or convicted of a marijuana offense, forfeiture has lived on civil property related to a marijuana investigation or in a designated area of low economic opportunity or high crime; Individuals with a family member who has been a victim of marijuana offenses are also eligible, as are applicants living with a household income that has yet to be determined.
“Today is a historic day in Colorado as we move towards social justice around cannabis and help fuel the conversation as a whole for the state that is severely lacking in diversity,” said Larisa Bolivar, director of the Cannabis Consumer Coalition , after signing, adding that the struggle for social justice was “far from over”.
The State Marijuana Enforcement Division’s latest survey of the marijuana industry’s ownership found that 88 percent of Colorado cannabis business owners were identified as white, while a similar poll from the city of Denver found that nearly 75 percent of Denver marijuana companies were white Owners had.
Update: This article was updated on June 30th at 10:20 am to correct an error in quotes from Sarah Gersten.
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Thomas Mitchell has been a cannabis-related writer for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate, and general news for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman, and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.