On October 1, 2020, Governor Polis followed through on the plan to pardon low-level marijuana convictions using the power the legislature gave him earlier this year.
His executive order granted full, automatic pardons for the almost 3,000 people with small pot possession charges before possession of one ounce or less became legal in the state.
Though he has the power to pardon convictions for up to two ounces of pot, Gov. Polis decided to limit the pardons to those possessing once ounce or less. This matches the amount legalized by voters in 2012 with the approval of Article 18, Section 16 of the Colorado Constitution.
Current state law permits possession of up to one ounce, though it is still a federal crime to possess any amount of marijuana. In Colorado, possession of between 1 and 2 ounces is a petty offense. This means that it is less than a misdemeanor offense, though the consequences of any criminal conviction can be life-altering.
The pardon details will be ironed out later, but one thing that is certain is that people do not have to take any action for this pardon to affect them. Because the pardon is automatic, it does not have to be applied for.
Municipal violations are not included in the pardon. This means that someone who was convicted of possession in a municipal court will still have a criminal record. Only convictions in county and state court are affected.