DENVER, CO – Representatives James Coleman, D-Denver, Leslie Herod, D-Denver, and Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, today released the following statements after Governor Jared Polis announced pardons for 2,732 Coloradans with state-level marijuana convictions, utilizing expanded authority granted through HB20-1424.
“Today, our state has taken a major step forward in securing justice for the thousands of Coloradans who have been living with a conviction on their record for a crime that no longer exists in our state,” said Rep. Coleman, D-Denver, the House sponsor of the legislation. “For too long, these convictions continued the injustices perpetrated under the discriminatory policy of marijuana prohibition, making it harder for Coloradans with convictions to find housing, employment or access critical services. Governor Polis’ decision to grant these pardons will finally bring justice to Coloradans who have been denied opportunity and have continued to be punished for possession of small amounts of marijuana long after the state rolled back its prohibition.”
“This pardon is long overdue and will make a real difference in the lives of countless Coloradans,” said Colorado Legislative Black Caucus Chair Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, who also championed the change. “Far too many people in our state have continued to suffer the consequences of a small mistake made decades ago while others profit off of the booming and legitimized cannabis industry. I’m proud to have played a part in the justice being served today.”
“These convictions for marijuana possession, which disproportionately fell on people of color, have persisted on Coloradans’ records despite being in opposition to our fundamental values of fairness, justice and opportunity for all,” said Rep. Singer, D-Longmont, who advocated for creating the pardon authority under HB20-1424. “I’m proud our state is moving forward and righting this wrong.”
Under HB20-1424, the governor has expanded authority to pardon a class of persons convicted of possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana. The conviction must be for a state-level offense.