Governor Jared Polis has used a new executive authority to automatically pardon 2,732 low-level marijuana possession convictions effective October 1, reported Westword.
His authority to do so comes from a new law allowing Colorado's governor to pardon convictions for possession of two ounces of marijuana or less — however, these pardons only cover convictions for one ounce or less. Polis's move automatically pardoned state convictions dating back as far as fifty years and running up through late 2012, when voters approved Amendment 64. Because one person can have multiple marijuana possession convictions, the governor doesn't know the exact number of people he's pardoned, but he estimates it to be "thousands of people."
"It's off their records. If they have a background check at work or want a concealed-weapons permit or a student loan, this will no longer hold anybody back," Polis says. "And it's also symbolically important, because it shows that as a state and nation, we're coming to terms with the incorrect discriminatory laws of the past that penalized people for possession of small amounts of marijuana."
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