Denver Program Helps People Expunge Old Cannabis Convictions

There is a new program to assist people with the expungement of prior low-level cannabis possession and paraphernalia offenses in the city of Denver, Colorado.

Last month, Mayor Michael Hancock and District Attorney Beth McCann announced the Turn Over A New Leaf (TONL) program to help reverse the negative impact that the war on drugs has caused.

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

Individuals may complete the application process for the program online or attend a clinic where city staff and volunteer lawyers will be available to provide assistance.

Applicants should not incur any costs in most cases, though a $65 court filing fee and a $28 fee from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation may apply to some. Applicants will be able to request a waiver of the costs, though a limited amount of funding will be available from TONL and its sponsor, The Marijuana Industry Group to cover fees that cannot be waived.

Qualified applications will go to Denver City and District Attorneys who will write a motion to vacate, dismiss, and seal past convictions before sending the documents to court where a judge will rule on them without a hearing.

Motions will be filed within one to two business days, and a judge should make their final rulings within a few weeks.

At the program’s commencement on Saturday, Mayor Hancock said that no one should be prevented from obtaining employment or seizing opportunities because of their past participation in activities that are now legal.