Marijuana Pardons

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. Additionally, it says that the requirements in C.R.S. §16-17-102(1) 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 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 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.

​Request for Marijuana Pardon Information Form
You may also call the CBI Biometrics Unit at (303) 239-4208

 

 

Pardon Questions and Answers

Who does this mass pardon apply to?  

Individuals who have been convicted of possession of one (1) ounce of marijuana or less at the state level in Colorado, which has been legal since Amendment 64 passed in 2012. Municipal convictions are not included.  

 

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

Individuals who are unsure whether a conviction on their record has been pardoned may click on the blue box above to 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’ve been pardoned?  

The pardons will be granted upon the Governor's signing the Executive Order. If you are unsure whether your conviction has been pardoned, please follow the instructions above.

 

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

On a public criminal history request (CBIRecordsCheck.com), the conviction will no longer appear.  On a criminal history check for licensing or for law enforcement, the charge will appear, but will clearly show that the pardon has been applied.

 

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

The pardon applies to all convictions at the state level for one (1) ounce of marijuana possession or less, whether the  Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has a record of the conviction or not.  Municipal convictions 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 Executive Order with your records.

 

Does this apply to municipal charges?

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 Colorado Bureau of Investigation 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 one (1) ounce of marijuana, or have some other conviction for marijuana?  

No. The pardon applies only to persons who have been convicted at the state level of possession of one (1) ounce or less of marijuana in Colorado. This is because possession of one (1) ounce of less has been legal since Amendment 64 passed in 2012.

 

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

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. The administration will continue to evaluate potential pardons pursuant to H.B. 20-1424.  

 

How many people does this impact?

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. Right now, there are 2,732 convictions eligible for pardon. Nevertheless, this number is merely the floor for the number of convictions that might be eligible for the pardon. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation will continue to work through the data to identify other convictions where the record is incomplete.  

 

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

This pardon applies to convictions of possession of one (1) ounce 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.  

In this process, per H.B. 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.

 

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?

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 H.B. 20-1424 to support this process.

 

Did these people apply for pardons?

No. Per H.B. 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 one (1) ounce 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 today 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, 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 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 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 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?

To date, the oldest conviction is from 1978, and the most recent is from 2012.  

 

What exactly does the bill say?

H.B. 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?

The Governor will consider additional pardons in the future and this is a historic step.  

 

How are people being notified that they’ve received a pardon?

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 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?

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 1 ounce 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 this mean for those who have been pardoned?

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. 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. 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. This Executive Order will not apply to someone who was charged and/or convicted in another state.