Gov. Polis to Roll Out Cannabis Amnesty Program within the Week

Colorado Governor Polis (D) expressed he will roll out an amnesty plan for more people in Mile High Land with cannabis convictions, concentrating on those who qualify for relief under a new measure that increased the cannabis possession limit for adults.

The governor, who led state measure compliance to identify people with old cannabis convictions for the new, two-ounce maximum earlier this spring, states the plan is in “the final phases of being finished” and Polis expects the plan to be formally announced, “in the coming days.”

At that time, “we’ll be able to start what we’re doing regarding any amnesty or pardons that we normally do in the holiday season,” Polis expressed.

An amnesty application form for those convicted of cannabis possession over one ounce (the former limit) but no more than two ounces (the modern limit) was made public via the Colorado Bureau of Investigation webpage, Westword broke.

In 2020, Governor Polis signed an order that permitted amnesty to nearly 3,000 people convicted of owning one ounce or less of cannabis. And while earlier laws that enabled Polis to do that in a prioritized manner applied to possession cases concerning up to two ounces. Polis’ office chose not to pardon those with more than one ounce of cannabis on their records due to the amount violating the current CO measure.

Nothing written into the new measure calls for a proactive review of cases that may qualify for amnesty given the possession threshold increase. Still, Polis said on Wednesday that that would be an area of focus for his amnesty announcement.

In the meantime, a different Colorado measure that involves the state’s medicinal cannabis program is scheduled to begin in a few days: January 1.

Medicinal cannabis consumers in Colorado will soon be barred from buying no more than eight grams of cannabis concentrates per day. The former limit was 40 grams of concentrate per day. Despite this, patients will be able to buy more than the day-to-day maximum if a  certifies that it’s medically required and they have an assigned primary cannabis dispensary to obtain the cannabis concentrates.

Cannabis dispensaries will also be mandated to provide scholastic materials to consumers, including a pamphlet circulated at the point of retail to provide guidance and adverse effects of the use of cannabis concentrates. Moreover, medicinal cannabis businesses couldn’t advertise straight to consumers aged 18 to 20, and any marketing for cannabis concentrates will have to include a caution about the risks of overindulgence.

When it comes to cannabis amnesty, Governor Polis isn’t the only head of state using executive authority to provide reassurance.

Earlier this week, the governor of Wisconsin announced that he bestowed nearly 30 pardons, mostly to those convicted of non-violent cannabis or other substance crimes. That raises the total number of exonerations issued so far by Governor Tony Evers (D-WI) to almost 340 within his first three years as Governor, the most passed by a governor in Cheesehead history to this point in time.

Back in the spring, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) blessed a physician arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned for cultivating cannabis that he used to provide alleviation for his moribund spouse. That came nearly a season after he granted prioritized pardons for basic cannabis offenses for nearly 70 people.

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D) expressed recently that one of his main goals in his last year in office is to assure that as many qualifying people as possible submit applications to have the Pennsylvania courts terminate their cannabis records and revive opportunities to things like fair housing, financial aid, and workforce development.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) reported that nearly half of a million (yes, you read that correctly) expungements and pardons for those with minor cannabis violations on their records. The immense amnesty and records cleansing sweep came nearly one year after the state began selling recreational cannabis.

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