Marijuana Pardons

Pardon Information

H.B. 20-1424 was signed into law on June 29, 2020. The law allows the Governor to grant pardons to a class of defendants who were convicted of possession of up to two ounces of marijuana. The requirements in C.R.S.16-17-102(1) regarding communtation of sentence or pardon for crimes committed do not apply to defendants who were convicted of possession of up to two ounces of marijuana, but the Governor may make any inquiry as deemed appropriate to seek any relevant information necessary from any person or agency to reach an informed decision.

Pursuant to this bill, the Governor has signed an executive order issuing a pardon on convictions for possession of 1oz. or less of marijuana. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has located convictions meeting the criteria and has applied the pardon to those convictions. However, the age and availability of data creates a possibility that some pardoned convictions may not show as such because of missing information at the CBI. If you believe your record may be subject of the issued pardon, please complete the form below to verify.

Please Note: This form requires information regarding a marijuana conviction. Documents in your possession related to your criminal history and/or court case may be required to complete the form.

On May 20, 2021, Governor Jared Polis signed into law HB 21-1090, and directed members of CBI to review the list of convictions of possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less to identify individuals who may be eligible for a pardon. If you believe you may be eligible for a pardon based on a conviction of possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less, you can complete a form below. 


Please Note: This form requires information regarding a marijuana conviction. Documents in your possession related to your criminal history and/or court case may be required to complete the form.

Pardon Questions and Answers

 

Who does this pardon apply to?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana
On October 1, 2020, the Governor pardoned state-level convictions of a petty offense, misdemeanor, or felony for possession of one (1) ounce of marijuana or less. Possession of one (1) ounce of marijuana or less has been legal in Colorado since Amendment 64 passed in 2012. Municipal convictions, Juvenile adjudications, and convictions from Denver County Court (General Sessions) were not included in the Governor’s action. 

Two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
To date, the Governor has not pardoned convictions of possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less at the state level in Colorado. On May 20, 2021, Governor Jared Polis signed HB 21-1090 (“Concerning Certain Criminal Marijuana Offenses”), and directed members of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to review convictions of possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less to identify individuals who may be eligible for a pardon. If you believe you may be eligible for a pardon based on a conviction of possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less, you can complete a form through the Marijuana Pardon website.

Who should I contact to see if I received a pardon? What resources are available to help me determine if I’ve been pardoned? What website or phone number do I call to find out if I was pardoned?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana & two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
Individuals who are unsure whether a conviction on their record has been pardoned may go to http://www.comarijuanapardons.com/ and fill out a form to request confirmation of a pardon. To obtain one’s state criminal history, visit CBIRecordsCheck.com and pay $5 for a background check. Once a conviction is pardoned, it will not appear on a criminal history report obtained on the website.

 

Please note: Marijuana charges handled by summons, where no arrest was made, will not be found in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) records. If someone received a ticket or summons, and were never fingerprinted, CBI will not have the arrest or conviction on record.


FAQs about CBI’s Background Check process

How long will it take to know if I have been pardoned?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana
On October 1, 2020, the Governor signed
Executive Order C 2020 004 that granted pardons for convictions of a petty offense, misdemeanor, or felony for possession of one (1) ounce of marijuana or less. If you are unsure whether your conviction has been pardoned, please follow the instructions above.

 

Two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
On May 20, 2021, Governor Jared Polis signed into law HB 21-1090 (“Concerning Certain Criminal Marijuana Offenses”), and directed members of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to review convictions of possession of two (2) ounces of marijana or less to identify convictions that may be eligible for a pardon. If you believe your conviction of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less may be eligible for a pardon, please follow the instructions in the previous FAQ.


What will a pardoned conviction look like on my criminal history?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana & two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
If pardoned, the conviction will no longer appear on a public criminal history request (
CBIRecordsCheck.com).  On a criminal history check for licensing or for law enforcement, the charge will appear, but will indicate that the pardon has been applied.


Does it matter if I was arrested or given a summons?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana & two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
The pardon applies (or in the case of two (2) ounces or less, will apply) to all convictions at the state level, whether the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has a record of the conviction or not. Municipal convictions, Juvenile adjudications, and convictions from Denver County Court (General Sessions) are not included. 

 

In some cases, individuals may have been arrested or given a summons for a state-level crime but those records are not with CBI because an individual’s fingerprints were not taken. As such, the only records of the conviction will be at the court or possibly in the individual’s personal records. If this is the case, you may want to preserve a copy of the Governor’s pardon 2020 Executive Order with your records.  The Governor has not yet executed any pardons for two (2) ounces or less or marijuana, but has directed CBI to review these convictions with the intention of issuing a pardon in the future.


Does this apply to municipal charges?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana & two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
No. Convictions in a municipal court may only be pardoned by the municipality where the conviction occurred. If you are unsure about the status of a conviction on your record, please use the CBI resources listed above to determine whether a conviction was pardoned. You may also need to contact the municipality to determine the disposition of your case.


Does the pardon apply to individuals who sold marijuana, possessed more than two (2) ounces of marijuana, or have some other conviction for marijuana?

No. The pardon currently applies only to persons who have been convicted at the state level of possession of one (1) ounce or less of marijuana in Colorado. After the passage of HB 21-1090, the Governor has directed CBI to review eligibility of convictions of possession of two (2) ounces or less of marijuana for pardon. 

Why does this pardon not include convictions for possession of more than one (1) ounce of marijuana, when HB 20-1424 gives the Governor authority to pardon convictions of possession of up to two ounces?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana
These pardons were granted to convictions of possession of one ounce or less in accordance with what Colorado voters deemed legal when they passed Amendment 64, legalizing recreational marijuana in our state.

Two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
On May 20, 2021, Governor Jared Polis signed into law HB 21-1090, and directed members of CBI to review the list of convictions of possession of two (2) ounces of marijana to identify individuals who may be eligible for a pardon. If you believe you may be eligible for a pardon based on a conviction of possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less, you can complete a form through the Marijuana Pardon website.

How many people does this impact?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana
Because the governor granted these pardons based on convictions, the exact number of people affected is unclear. For example, one person may have had several convictions for possession of one (1) ounce or less of marijuana, and through this process all of those convictions will have been pardoned. There are 2,732 convictions eligible for pardon for the possession of one (1) ounce or less of marijuana. Nevertheless, these numbers are merely the floor for the number of convictions that might be eligible for the pardon. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will continue to work through the data to identify other convictions where the record is incomplete. 

 

Two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
The number of any additional convictions eligible for pardon for the possession of two (2) ounces or less of marijuana will be announced in the upcoming months per the signing of HB 21-1090 on May 20, 2021.


If someone does not receive a pardon but was convicted of possessing more than one (1) ounce but less than two (2) ounces of marijuana, how do they go about applying for a pardon?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana & two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
This pardon process applies to convictions of possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less at the state level in Colorado. Anyone can apply for a pardon using the clemency process in Colorado.

More information is available here:  https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdoc/clemency-requests


How is this different from the traditional pardon process?

In the traditional pardon process, the person seeking a pardon must submit an application to be considered for clemency. The Governor’s Executive Clemency Advisory Board first evaluates the application and makes a recommendation to the Governor whether to grant or deny the application.  The Governor then takes all of the application materials, as well as the Clemency Board’s recommendation, into consideration in evaluating the individual’s application for pardon. 

 

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana 
In this process, per HB 20-1424, the Governor is granting a pardon to a class of individuals, with convictions for possession of one (1) ounce or less of marijuana. These individuals have not applied for a pardon, and the Governor’s Office has not conducted individual assessments of the people who have been pardoned.  We have only looked at convictions, not at individuals’ records.

 

Two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
On May 20, 2021, Governor Jared Polis signed into law HB 21-1090, and directed members of CBI to review the list of convictions of possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less to identify individuals who may be eligible for a pardon. If you believe you may be eligible for a pardon based on a conviction of possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less, you can complete a form through the Marijuana Pardon website.


Is there a cost to those who are pardoned in any way?

No. However, there is a $5 fee to run a background check with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to verify that a pardoned charge no longer appears on their record. Please visit CBIRecordsCheck.com.

How much did this cost in tax dollars or otherwise

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana & two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
This initial pardon was completed using existing state resources. There were no additional funds allocated to the Governor’s Office or the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in HB 20-1424 or HB 21-1090 to support this process.

Did these people apply for pardons?

No. Per HB 20-1424 the Governor may grant pardons to a “class” of defendants who were convicted of possession of up to two ounces of marijuana. The bill states that the typical application requirements for clemency do not apply so the Governor is able to pardon these individuals without applications. 

How did the Governor's Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation determine which records would receive pardons?

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation searched the Colorado Criminal History Database’s conviction data for convictions of possession of two (2) ounces or less of marijuana.  The convictions were reviewed to ensure they occurred in a state court.  Because eligible convictions to be pardoned were identified based on conviction data instead of applications, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation did not review or use individuals’ other offenses or demographic information.

Why aren't names being released with these pardons?

The individuals being pardoned did not individually request a pardon and might not want this information to be public. In developing the list of convictions to pardon, the Governor’s Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation worked from data on convictions and the individuals’ names and demographic information was not required to assemble the list of eligible convictions.

What are the demographics of who was pardoned?

In developing the list of convictions to pardon, the Governor’s Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation examined conviction records that did not include identifying information such as names or demographic information. Through this process, CBI did not review personal or demographic data, or criminal history. Instead, CBI focused on conviction data to ensure this mass pardon was to all Coloradans who were convicted of possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana and have records with CBI.

What is the racial or ethnic breakdown of this class?

In developing the list of convictions to pardon, the Governor’s Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation examined conviction records that did not include identifying information such as names or demographic information. Through this process, the CBI did not review personal or demographic data, or criminal history. Instead, CBI focused on conviction data to ensure this mass pardon was to all Coloradans who were convicted of possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana and have records with CBI.

How recent are these convictions? How old?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana 
To date, the oldest conviction is from 1974, and the most recent is from 2020.

What exactly does the bill say?

HB 20-1424 states: “The governor may grant pardons to a class of defendants who were convicted of the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana. The requirements of subsection (1) of this section do not apply to defendants who were convicted of the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana, but the governor may make any inquiry as deemed appropriate to seek any relevant information necessary from any person or agency to reach an informed decision.”

Will there be another round of pardons?

Governor Polis has taken a historic step by pardoning state-level convictions of possession of one (1) ounce of marijuana or less.  To date, the Governor has not pardoned convictions of possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less at the state level in Colorado. On May 20, 2021, Governor Jared Polis signed HB 21-1090 (“Concerning Certain Criminal Marijuana Offenses”), and directed members of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to review convictions of possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less to identify individuals who may be eligible for a pardon.  

How are people being notified that they received a pardon?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana
In developing the list of convictions to pardon, the Governor’s Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation examined conviction records that did not include identifying information such as names or demographic information. Through this process, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did not review personal or demographic data, or criminal history. Instead, CBI focused on conviction data to ensure this mass pardon was granted to all Coloradans who were convicted of possession of one (1) ounce or less of marijuana and have records with CBI. We do not have contact information for those whose convictions are being pardoned. Therefore, we are not notifying people that they have received a pardon. If someone wants to find out if he or she is pardoned they may contact CBI through the instructions above. 

Will any pardons result in anyone being freed from incarceration?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana & two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
No. The convictions that the Governor is pardoning are minor marijuana offenses that have been legal since 2012. There is no one incarcerated in the state solely for the possession of one (1) and two (2) ounce(s) or less of marijuana. For someone to be freed from incarceration by the Governor, they would need to apply for, and be granted, a commutation. To be clear, other crimes - including other drug crimes - will not be affected by this pardon.


What does the mean for those who have been pardoned?

One (1) ounce or less of marijuana & two (2) ounces or less of marijuana
Someone who has been pardoned through this process will have the conviction removed from their public record, so that if a member of the general public were to run a background check, the conviction would not appear. Licensing and law enforcement background checks will still show the conviction, but will also include a notation that the conviction was pardoned by the Governor. 


What does a pardon mean?

A pardon can be thought of as a public forgiveness for the crime. Someone who has been pardoned through this process will have the conviction removed from their public record, so that if a member of the general public were to run a background check, the conviction would not appear. Licensing and law enforcement background checks will still show the conviction, but will also include a notation that the conviction was pardoned by the Governor.

Does this apply to someone that was charged in another state but lives in Colorado?

No. The Governor only has authority to pardon Colorado state crimes. The  2020 Executive Order and any forthcoming pardons will not apply to someone who was charged and/or convicted in another state.

 

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