DENVER, CO – Denver’s mayor announced Tuesday that 10,000 low-level marijuana convictions that occurred between 2001-2013 before marijuana was legalized in Colorado are eligible to be expunged.
“For too long, the lives of low-income residents and those living in our communities of color have been negatively affected by low-level marijuana convictions,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in an announcement. “This is an injustice that needs to be corrected, and we are going to provide a pathway to move on from an era of marijuana prohibition that has impacted the lives of thousands of people.”
The announcement is part of a citywide effort to recognize the long-term harm done to communities disproportionally impacted by the “war on drugs,” Hancock said.
The city reviewed the plan with the Office of Marijuana Policy and the City Attorney’s Office. The agencies are working with the District Attorney, Denver County Courts and stakeholders to develop a process for expunging records, the mayor’s office said in a statement.
In June, at the meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Hancock signed a resolution calling for cities to vacate certain marijuana misdemeanors.
Hancock has also proposed a “multi-pronged approach to ensuring that communities who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs can benefit from the legalization of marijuana,” the city said in a statement.
In August, the city raised the recreational marijuana tax in Denver to 5.5 percent. These new funds are expected to double the amount of money Denver is dedicating to developing more affordable housing options in the city and create more than 6,000 additional units over the next five years, the mayor’s office said.
Facts released by the mayors office today about Denver’s marijuana industry:
- The marijuana market in Denver is prospering with marijuana tax revenue making up 3.41 percent of Denver’s overall revenue in 2017.
- That figure is projected to rise to approximately 3.6 percent in 2018.
An estimated 3,250 jobs in Denver were a direct result of the marijuana industry, with another 6,000 estimated jobs resulting from secondary impacts such as related retail and service activities, about 2 percent of the 520,000 jobs in Denver.
“We need to better understand the obstacles, business conditions and regulatory hurdles preventing individuals from seeking employment or business ownership in the cannabis industry,” Hancock said. “We believe in equal opportunity for all, and that includes those working in the cannabis industry.”