Denver, CO–With the passage of Amendment 64, Colorado residents proved themselves to be forward thinking, but while residents of the state were busy enjoying their newfound freedoms, little has been done for those serving time on marijuana related charges…until now. Gov. John W. Hickenlooper (D) has proposed a bill that would have a major impact on the criminal justice system. Under the new bill, convicts currently serving time on marijuana related charges will be released and the crime expunged from their records.
In Colorado alone, more than 10,000 people were arrested annually for marijuana possession according to a recent study by researchers with the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, a drug policy-reform group. The study finds that Colorado has seen 240,000 marijuana possession arrests in the state over the past 25 years with nearly a quarter of all arrests coming in the five years between 2006 and 2010.
JC Chavez, a spokesman for the Governor’s office, spoke with local Fox Affiliate KDVR this morning and had this to say: “The Governor has a strong background of following his heart and doing what is right and this is just a natural progression. While the US is one of the only countries in the world that does NOT guarantee retroactive ameliorative relief in sentencing, the plan proposed by Gov. Hickenlooper would free those currently serving and simply seal all records of ‘personal’ pot possession. Sealing the records effectively makes the arrest disappear to background checks. This doesn’t just impact the offender in Colorado, it prevents that record from showing up no matter where that user goes – even if pot is illegal in the state, making it easier for former convicts to find employment.”
Recent studies have suggested the states marijuana industry could reach $1 billion in sales in the next fiscal year. Revised budget numbers indicate the state could add more than $100 million a year collected through tax revenues to state coffers. This revenue, along with savings from reduced law enforcement resources, will provide the state much needed funding for school construction, health care, substance-abuse programs and public health.
Contact Governor John Hickenlooper with your support here.