Colorado Senate Committee Passes Bill (HB 21-1090) Doubling Legal Cannabis Possessions to Clarify Previous Beliefs
It is possible for Colorado to receive double the legally allowed amount of cannabis possession, but HB 21-1090 is still going through the state legislative process.
The next step for the bill was a Senate Committee hearing on April 22nd, which, according to NORML, passed the bill. HB 21-1090 was originally introduced by the Democrat Alex Valdez. When signed into law, it increases the ownership limit for individuals to up to two ounces. It will also allow former cannabis offenders who have had low cost of ownership and cultivation to try to clear their records.
So far it has passed 45-19 in the Senate House and Judiciary Committee, and Valdez believes it will get through all the way.
“It should come pretty quickly as it was pretty much free of controversy,” said Valdez. “I think marijuana issues in general are starting to be impartial, but we’ve also got some of the more conservative people to vote for it, which really shows.”
In particular, HB 21-1090 would seal class 3 cannabis growing crimes – which is crimes for growing between 12 and 25 plants. Growing more than 12 plants would still be illegal without an expanded number of plants provided through a medical cannabis map, and purchases from pharmacies would still be limited to an ounce per day unless the Marijuana Enforcement Division decides to change their rules. Still, it would be a big step for the already thriving cannabis industry.
While Valdez’s ultimate goal is to automate the Colorado data cleansing process, he wasn’t sure if it would be financially feasible anytime soon after the economic impact of COVID. The procedure for sealing records involves a judge’s petition. Each person and their charges “are examined by the judges on their own merits”.
“It allows them to petition directly to a judge instead of getting approval from the district attorney,” Valdez said. “It’s going to be very legal because prosecutors obviously want to preserve their ability to have checks there.”
This proposal would only apply to local convictions, as opposed to the state convictions that Governor Jared Polis has already pardoned. However, he pardoned only one ounce of convictions and adhered to the legal limit. This would clarify new beliefs as it would forgive anyone who owned two ounces.
Possible problems with HB 21-1090
Some believe HB 21-1090 isn’t going to do enough. Cannabis attorney Sean McAllister, who has experience defending medical cannabis patients and serves as an executive on the City of Denver’s Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel, believes that combining pardons for such a low level and not automated it is possible to help many people.
“If there isn’t an automatic seal, it won’t have much of an impact, but it really costs government money. If that’s the cost of this failed immoral drug war, they should do it anyway, but that’s usually the deal killer, “McAllister said, though he added,” any property exemption or record expansion – Seal laws are certainly a step forward. “
There are other issues with the idea as well, like the fact that looking up ancient cannabis crimes can be a hurdle unless the jurisdiction is involved with the Colorado Crime Information Center. Plus, many of the existing beliefs are meant to be spread with the intention of spreading them, so more than two ounces, and the new language isn’t going to do very much.
“Most people have quarter-ounce bags and half-ounces or pounds of them, not between an ounce and 2 ounces,” added McAllister. “My personal opinion is that there should be no possession restrictions for adults unless they intend to distribute.”
It remains to be seen whether this bill will officially become law and whether it will make enough of a difference. But it’s still a positive move to overturn previous cannabis convictions and ease restrictions on legal Colorado cannabis.