Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is now starting moves to free around 40 prisoners all over the state.
The Democrat reported that the governor has been mulling over granting clemency to more than three dozen prisoners who were previously convicted of cannabis offenses that are non-violent.
According to the report, he believes that inviting qualifying inmates to apply for the dismissal of their non-violent marijuana-related criminal offenses is a good idea. He said that his office is now reviewing the cases in coordination with the Department of Corrections.
In November, Hickenlooper granted pardon to seven individuals convicted of cannabis possession.
Jacque Montgomery, the governor’s press secretary, said that for some time already, they have been discussing the idea of freeing these prisoners and are carefully evaluating the cases to see if there are inmates who qualify.
So far, the Governor’s office has already identified several inmates who are currently serving time just for possessing or selling marijuana. The governor’s attorneys are also investigating the conduct of inmates inside the prison.
After the review is done, those inmates who are qualified would be encouraged to send in their applications for clemency.
It can be recalled that in November, Hickenlooper had granted pardon to seven persons convicted of cannabis possession.
Getting these cannabis cases tossed out and granting clemency is seen as the most logical next step for cities and states where marijuana is legal for both recreational and medical use. Colorado voters elected to legalize recreational in 2012. And in 2017, the state adopted a law that allows those who were convicted of misdemeanors for possessing or using cannabis to ask the court and have their criminal records sealed provided that their behavior would not have been considered a crime under the reformed cannabis laws.
Hickenlooper’s review of inmates’ cases, however, is different from what the cities of San Diego and San Francisco in California are doing.
The possession and home cultivation of cannabis by Colorado residents who are at least 21 years old became legal after voters passed Amendment 64 in November 2012.
Not a similar move to San Francisco’s
Hickenlooper’s review of inmates’ cases, however, is different from what the cities of San Francisco and San Diego in California are doing.
According to George Gascon, the City by the Bay will quickly dismiss close to 3,000 marijuana misdemeanor judgments. Some of these convictions go way back to the 1970s. The city will also erase the arrest records of people who were charge of these offenses. Gascon is the city attorney.
The city would also review around 5,000 marijuana-related felonies that happened around the same time. For some cases, these felonies will be downgraded to misdemeanors.
Gascon related the city is bent on correcting the wrongs brought about by the US Drug War, as well as fixing the damage that has already been done, particularly to the colored communities.
Under California’s Proposition 64, people who were charged with marijuana related charges would be able to ask the state’s courts to dismiss the charges right away, or have the penalties reduced.
However, according to Gascon, this process can be very costly and could drag for a very long time. This time around, the city prosecutors will proactively review these cases, granting dismissal to those who qualify for it.
Gascon offered that this was better. Gascon explained that some of those imprisoned for marijuana related crimes did not have an idea that that they could make a petition to dismiss in the first place.
Meanwhile, in San Diego, prosecutors had also started reviewing similar cases after the passing of Proposition 64. So far, close to five dozen people have been released from prison, while hundreds others were freed from probation.