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.

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On May 20, 2021, Governor Jared Polis signed into law HB 21-1090, thereby legalizing the possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less in the State of Colorado. An  Executive Order (C 2021 019)  was signed on December 30, 2021, which grants "full and unconditional pardons for the State of Colorado convictions for possession of two (2) ounces or less of marijuana." These conviction pardons were implemented upon the signage of the  Executive Order (C 2021 019). 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

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What is a pardon?

A pardon can be thought of as a public forgiveness for a crime. 

What convictions were pardoned by the Governor’s Executive Orders?

State-level convictions of possession of two (2) ounces or less of marijuana in the State of Colorado have been pardoned. 

On October 1, 2020, Governor Polis pardoned convictions of possession of one (1) ounce or less of marijuana in Colorado through Executive Order C 2020 004. On December 30, 2021, Governor Polis pardoned a class of defendants who were convicted of possession of two (2) ounces or less of marijuana in Colorado through Executive Order C 2021 019.

How many people does this impact?

The exact number of people affected is unclear because an individual may have had several eligible convictions pardoned through this process.  

To date, 2,732 convictions have been pardoned for the possession of one (1) ounce or less of marijuana and 1,351 convictions have been pardoned for the possession of two (2) ounces or less of marijuana. 

The over 4,000 convictions pardoned through Executive Order C 2020 004 and Executive Order C 2021 019 merely represent the floor, and CBI will continue to work through its data and with courts and individuals to identify convictions that are eligible for a pardon. 
 

Do I have to apply to receive a pardon under this process? 

No. Pursuant to House Bill 2020-1424 the Governor has pardoned a class of defendants with State-level convictions of two (2) ounces or less of marijuana. Under House Bill 2020-1424, the typical pardon application requirements do not apply. 

How and when will my marijuana conviction be pardoned?

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reviewed the Colorado Criminal History Database for convictions of possession of two (2) ounces or less of marijuana. CBI has already proactively applied pardons to records that clearly indicate a conviction of possession of two (2) ounces or less of marijuana. 

Will I be notified if my conviction has been pardoned?

The conviction records examined by state officials for pardon eligibility did not include any identifying information such as names or demographic information. CBI does not have contact information for individuals’ whose convictions were pardoned and will not notify individuals of a pardon. 

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

A pardoned conviction will no longer appear on a public background check conducted on CBIRecordsCheck.com. Convictions will still be visible on background checks conducted by licensing officials and law enforcement but the background check will include a notation that the conviction was pardoned by the Governor.

How do I confirm my conviction has been pardoned? How long will this take?

For $5.00, you may instantly check if a pardon was applied to your state criminal history by visiting CBIRecordsCheck.com. If a background check is cost prohibitive, you may may complete this form to check if your conviction has been pardoned for free; however, it may take up to thirty (30) days for CBI to verify your pardon status.  
 

Why wasn’t my conviction pardoned? 

CBI was unable to proactively pardon some convictions of possession of two (2) ounces or less of marijuana because CBI needs additional information about the conviction. Additional information about the conviction may be available at the relevant court or found in the individual’s personal records. Please fill out this form to determine what additional information CBI needs to review your conviction. 

It may take up to thirty (30) days to be notified by CBI with one of the following responses: (a) your case was pardoned, (b) your case was not eligible for pardon, (c) your charge was not a conviction and is therefore not eligible for pardon, or (d)  additional information is required to assess your convictions eligibility. FAQs about CBI’s Background Check process
 

If you would like to request a pardon or commutation for a conviction that is not eligible for a pardon under Executive Order C 2020 004 or Executive Order C 2021 019, you may apply for a pardon or commutation at cdoc.colorado.gov/resources/clemency

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

The pardon applies to State-level convictions at the state level, whether the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has a record of the conviction or not. 

In some cases, individuals may have been arrested or given a summons for a state-level crime but CBI may not have the records of the conviction if fingerprints were not taken. You may also wish to contact CBI by filling out this form to submit additional information about your conviction. Additional information about the conviction may be available at the relevant court or found in the individual’s personal records. If this is the case, you may want to preserve copies of the 2020 and 2021 Executive Orders with your records. 
 

Why does the Governor’s marijuana pardon only apply to State-level convictions? 

Governor Polis only has authority to pardon Colorado state convictions. Municipal convictions, juvenile adjudications, and convictions from Denver County Court (General Sessions) are not pardoned by either of the Governor’s Executive Orders. 

Municipal court convictions may only be pardoned by the municipality where the conviction occurred (if a pardon process is available in that jurisdiction). To address municipal convictions, you will need to contact the relevant municipality to determine the disposition of your case. 
 

Does the Governor’s marijuana pardon apply to convictions in another state if the individual now lives in Colorado? 

No. Governor Polis only has authority to pardon Colorado state-level crimes. Both the 2020 and 2021 Executive Orders do not apply to convictions in another state. Governor Polis encourages other states that have legalized recreational marijuana to consider adopting similar pardon processes. 

 

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 two (2) ounces or less of marijuana in Colorado. 

If you would like to request a pardon or commutation for a conviction that is not eligible for a pardon under Executive Order C 2020 004 or Executive Order C 2021 019, you may apply for a pardon or commutation at cdoc.colorado.gov/resources/clemency

 

Will any pardons result in anyone being freed from incarceration?

No. No one is currently incarcerated in the state of Colorado solely for the possession of any amount of marijuana. 

What are the names/demographics of individuals with pardoned convictions? 

The conviction records examined by state officials for pardon eligibility did not include any identifying information such as names or demographic information nor did it include criminal history. By focusing only on conviction data, CBI ensured this pardon was applied to all Coloradans who have a state-level conviction of possession of two (2) ounces or less of marijuana and have complete records with CBI. 

CBI does not know the demographics or a list of names of the individuals whose convictions were pardoned under Executive Order C 2020 004 or Executive Order C 2021 019. Further, because individuals in this class of defendants have not necessarily applied for a pardon and because these pardons only apply to convictions for crimes that are now entirely legal under Colorado law, the Governor’s Office did not conduct assessments of the individuals whose convictions were pardoned by Executive Order C 2020 004 and Executive Order C 2021 019
 

How much did this pardon process cost in tax dollars or otherwise?

The pardons were completed using existing state resources. There were no additional funds allocated to the Governor’s Office or the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in House Bill 2020-1424 or House Bill 2021-1090 to support this process.

How does the traditional pardon process work?

The traditional pardon process works on a case-by-case basis. The individual seeking a pardon must submit an application that is evaluated by the Governor’s Executive Clemency Advisory Board (Clemency Board) and the Governor. The Governor may choose to pardon an individual’s conviction(s) through Executive Order. For more information about the traditional pardon process, visit cdoc.colorado.gov/resources/clemency

How do I apply to seal a conviction for a class 3 felony under House Bill 21-1090? 

You must reach out directly to the relevant court to obtain an Order to Seal. Please visit https://www.courts.state.co.us/ for more information. 

 

 

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