Denver aims to vacate pot convictions from years past

City still trying to craft plan that would keep old criminal records from appearing

Kathleen Foody
Associated Press
Posted 12/7/18

Denver officials are planning to vacate thousands of marijuana convictions prosecuted before its use became legal in the state. Colorado was among the first states to broadly allow the use and sale …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Username
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution of $25 or more in Nov. 2018-2019, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access Includes access to all websites


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Denver aims to vacate pot convictions from years past

City still trying to craft plan that would keep old criminal records from appearing

Posted

Denver officials are planning to vacate thousands of marijuana convictions prosecuted before its use became legal in the state.

Colorado was among the first states to broadly allow the use and sale of marijuana by adults, but cities elsewhere have led the way on automatic expungement or sealing of past misdemeanor marijuana convictions.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Michael Hancock said Dec. 4 that city officials are still working on a plan to review the low-level convictions deemed eligible, an estimated 10,000 convictions between 2001 and 2013.

Denver officials, including the city attorney, are developing the right approach with the district attorney's office, said Theresa Marchetta, Hancock's spokeswoman. The mayor may issue a sweeping executive order or direct city staff to work with legal authorities and clear the cases individually, she said.

San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle announced their efforts early this year, framing the work as an attempt to repair years of damage on people who found that a misdemeanor conviction could bar them from jobs, housing and financial resources.

Minority and low-income communities have been particularly hurt by those barriers, Hancock said in a statement.

“This is an injustice that needs to be corrected, and we are going to provide a pathway to move on from an era of marijuana prohibition that has impacted the lives of thousands of people,” Hancock said in a statement.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia now allow broad marijuana use, and Colorado state lawmakers have begun tackling the issue. California this year passed a law requiring the state Department of Justice to identify marijuana convictions eligible for erasure or reduction and provide lists to local district attorneys.

“It's a long time in coming,” said Art Way, director of the Drug Policy Alliance's Colorado office.

Colorado lets people petition courts to seal criminal records so arrests and convictions are not revealed to parties such as employers and landlords. But advocates said that can become expensive and time-consuming, and district attorneys can challenge the requests.

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.