Colorado governor pardons people convicted of possession of up to an ounce of marijuana

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order to pardon individuals convicted of possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. By Allen Kim, Gregory Lemos and Leslie Perrot, CNN

(CNN) -- People who have been convicted of possession of one ounce or less of marijuana in Colorado are being pardoned by Gov. Jared Polis.

Polis signed an executive order on Thursday issuing the pardons, according to a news release from the governor's office.

"We are finally cleaning up some of the inequities of the past by pardoning 2,732 convictions for Coloradans who simply had an ounce of marijuana or less.

It's ridiculous how being written up for smoking a joint in the 1970's has followed some Coloradans throughout their lives and gotten in the way of their success," Polis said.

"Today we are taking this step toward creating a more just system and breaking down barriers to help transform people's lives as well as coming to terms with one aspect of the past, failed policy of marijuana prohibition."

The action comes of the heels of the passage in June of a bill authorizing the governor "to grant pardons to a class of defendants who were convicted of the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana," according to the release. The new law went into effect this month, the release states.

The pardon applies to state-level convictions as identified by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, according to the release. Those who have been convicted do not need to apply for pardons.

Anyone who has been convicted of municipal marijuana crimes, or has been arrested or issued a summons without a conviction, is not included in the pardons.

Colorado was the first state in the nation to allow for the sale of recreational marijuana in 2014, and it was the first place in the world where marijuana was regulated from seed to sale.

The marijuana industry has been profitable for the state, with Colorado cannabis shops reporting $1.75 billion in sales during 2019, netting more than $302.4 million in tax revenue.

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