New Denver program will clear low-level marijuana convictions before legalization

DENVER — A new program in Denver will expunge the convictions of thousands of people convicted of low-level marijuana offenses that happened before the passage of recreational-use laws, the city and the Denver District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Individuals can obtain relief by filing motions in each case under the city’s new Turn Over a New Leaf program.

“For more than five years, Denver has led the way in regulating legalized marijuana,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “This is about equity for our communities of color and individuals who were disproportionately impacted by low-level marijuana convictions that are no longer crimes in Colorado.

“Overturning these convictions is part of Denver’s multi-pronged approach to correct the social injustices caused by the war on drugs.”

“Given the fact that possession of a small amount of marijuana is now legal in Denver, I have decided, in the interest of justice and fairness, that my office will assist individuals convicted of a marijuana offense which would now be legal in getting their convictions dismissed and expunged,” Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a statement.

A website will guide people through the steps needed to clear their records. In-person assistance with staff from the City and County of Denver and the district attorney’s office will be available at a series of clinics.

A government-issued photo identification is needed to participate in a clinic. If the case is eligible for expungement, documents will be drafted and the application will receive information about the next steps.

A state judge will rule, without a hearing, on the requests to vacate the convictions and seal the records of participants.

The expungement covers convictions from 2001 to 2012.

The clinics will begin in February.

  • Feb. 9, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Denver Conflict Center (4140 Tejon St.)
  • Feb. 24, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Denver Park Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church (3385 Albion St.)
  • March 6, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Servicios de La Raza (3131 W. 14th Ave.)
  • March 21, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Cultivated Synergy (2901 Walnut St.)