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Will Colorado forgive previous marijuana convictions?

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Colorado was among the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in the U.S. As a result, some actions that may have led to a person's arrest in the past are no longer considered criminal offenses.

With the shifting rules and culture in mind, the Boulder County District Attorney's Office intends to "vacate and seal" certain marijuana convictions of the past. Cases of simple marijuana possession - without any other criminal charges - may soon be eligible for dismissal.

What does this mean for those with eligible cases?

This opportunity could help people who have an eligible conviction move on. When a court dismisses a conviction, the charges remain on that person's criminal record. However, the District Attorney's Office also plans to seal the records. Sealing the records could help those with prior convictions find a job, gain loan approval and more.

The Boulder County District Attorney's Office cannot offer this opportunity state-wide, however. It is unknown whether other areas of Colorado will follow Boulder County's lead.

Some activities are still illegal today

Although Colorado has become more tolerant of marijuana in recent years, residents still need to pay attention to the law. Depending on the case, it is possible to face criminal charges related to marijuana.

Activities that are still illicit can include:

  • Growing a certain quantity of marijuana plants at home
  • Transferring a quantity of the drug that exceeds legal limits
  • Selling the drug without a valid license
  • Selling the drug to a minor

People who currently face these criminal charges cannot take advantage of the District Attorney Office's decision, but they can still fight against the charges and uphold their rights in court.

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