Colorado Governor Jared Polis pardons 1,351 people for minor marijuana crimes

Democratic governor of Colorado Jared Polis announced on Thursday that he chose to pardon 1.351 people over minimal marijuana possession charges.

With those pardons, he also announced the commutations of three sentences, and fifteen other individual pardons for prisoners in the state. 

Polis signed a bill into law earlier this year that allows state residents over the age of 21 to legally possess two ounces of marijuana at most. That law added to Amendment 64, which originally legalized marijuana in 2012, as well as another bill permitting the governor to grant pardons to defendants that are convicted of possessing no more than two ounces of marijuana. 

Polis released a statement regarding the pardon. “Adults can legally possess marijuana in Colorado, just as they can beer or wine,” he wrote.

“It’s unfair that 1,351 additional Coloradans had permanent blemishes on their record that interfered with employment, credit, and gun ownership, but today we have fixed that by pardoning their possession of small amounts of marijuana that occurred during the failed prohibition era.” 

Along with those pardons, Polis also commuted the sentence of truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, who had originally been sentenced to 110 years in prison after four people were killed in a 2019 motor vehicle crash.

Aguilera-Mederos was driving the truck when the breaks failed, causing the accident. Prosecutors said he missed a runaway truck ramp, which could have prevented the incident, but ultimately, Polis said it was a “tragic but unintentional act.” The governor reduced his sentence from 110 years to 10, with eligibility for parole after five.  




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