Starting Saturday, thousands of Denverites who were convicted of low-level marijuana offenses prior to legalization can begin the process to get those wiped off their record.
The “Turn Over a New Leaf Program,” announced last month by Mayor Michael Hancock and District Attorney Beth McCann, is part of a wider effort to reverse the impact of the war on drugs that disproportionately affects Black and Latino communities.
“For more than five years, Denver has led the way in regulating legalized marijuana,” Hancock said in a statement Friday. “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.”
Hancock and McCann are both expected to address the media Saturday morning at the program’s first clinic, at the Denver Conflict Center, according to a news release from the DA’s office.
The program will allow people charged in Denver to completely erase convictions for offenses that are now legal in the state, such as small-scale possession of marijuana or paraphernalia.
About 13,000 people are eligible for the city’s free program, although fewer are expected to participate. Those wishing to take advantage of the program only need a driver’s license or other government-issued ID.
While participants can go through the process online, there will also be in-person clinics where people can get assistance from city staff. If the case is eligible for expungement, a city representative will then draft documents and the applicant will receive information about what to expect next.