Dear Stoner: I'm trying to convince a friend to clear an old weed charge. How does he sign up for the new pardon law that passed?
Dear Kage: Governor Jared Polis signed the bill you're referring to on June 29 after a quick, late run through the Colorado Legislature. The measure, originally drafted to define social equity applicants in the marijuana industry, was amended to give Polis the power to grant pardons to people charged with possession of two ounces of marijuana or less in Colorado before the state voted to legalize the plant in November 2012. While the Polis administration and the state attorney general still need to iron out a few details over at least the next ninety days, there are some things we know based on the language of the measure.
For starters, your friend would still have to personally seek to have his records cleared. Even though Polis can issue these pardons on a mass level, there is no state database that lists marijuana possession crimes, so former offenders would still have to make sure their pardons go through. However, the process is expected to be relatively cheap and streamlined compared to efforts in other states such as Nevada and California, and wouldn't require approval from district attorneys. Once the bill is signed and implementation talks begin, we'll know more about steps forward.
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