Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed an executive order Thursday granting full pardons to those who have been convicted of possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.
“All individuals previously convicted in the State of Colorado of a petty offense, misdemeanor, or felony for possession of one (1) ounce or less of marijuana under the following provisions are hereby granted a full and unconditional pardon for that conviction,” the order reads.
The pardon will take immediate affect for more than 2,700 people who have been convicted of the low-level crime, The Denver Post reported. The pardoned convictions date as far back as 50 years ago, and as recent as late 2012, when voters approved Amendment 64, which legalized the possession and consumption of weed in the state.
“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 in a statement.
“Too many Coloradans have been followed their entire lives by a conviction for something that is no longer a crime, and these convictions have impacted their job status, housing and countless other areas of their lives,” he added.
Ricardo Baca, The Denver Post’s former marijuana editor who now runs cannabis marketing firm Grasslands, told HuffPost in a statement that Colorado is lucky to “now have a Governor who understands that the responsibilities of legalizing cannabis go far beyond regulating the cultivation, manufacture and retail of marijuana.
It is the responsibility of every legal economy to also put an end to the Drug War-era nonsense that has ruined untold lives, and granting pardons to citizens with low-level drug offenses should be a mandatory element of all legalization efforts moving forward,” Bacca added.
Polis signed a bipartisan bill in June which authorized him to grant pardons to those convicted of possession of up to two ounces of marijuana. However, Thursday’s executive order only applies to those convicted of possessing an ounce or less.