Thousands of people convicted of low-level marijuana offenses that occurred before the passage of recreational-use laws can ask to have those crimes expunged from their record through the city’s new “Turn Over a New Leaf “program. Because the state legislature has yet to enact laws that would automatically vacate low-level marijuana offenses, individuals can obtain relief only by filing motions in each case. The city’s program is designed to make that process simple and easy.
“For more than five years, Denver has led the way in regulating legalized marijuana,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “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,” said Denver District Attorney Beth McCann. “In addition to having an online, self-service option, we will hold clinics to make this process easier for these individuals. Members of my office and the City Attorney’s office will meet with people who attend to get the process underway.”
The new program is now live online at www.Denvergov.org/ANewLeaf. The website will guide people through the steps needed to request expungement. However, for individuals wanting in-person assistance, staff from the City and County of Denver and the Denver District Attorney’s Office will also host a series of clinics to help people navigate the legal process.
To participate in a clinic, applicants must provide government-issued photo identification such as a drivers’ license. They will then meet with a representative from the Denver District Attorney’s or Denver City Attorney’s office who will review their case. If the case is eligible for expungement, the city representative will then draft documents and the applicant will receive information about what to expect next.
Ultimately, for both the online and in-person process, a state judge will rule — without a hearing — on the requests to vacate convictions and seal the records of all eligible participants
The dates, times and locations of the clinics are:
Wednesday, March 6
5:00 pm-8:00 pm
Servicios de La Raza
3131 W 14th Ave Denver, CO 80204
Thursday, March 21
9:00 am-1:00 pm
2901 Walnut St. Denver, CO 80205
The expungement of records covers convictions between 2001 -2012. Participants are encouraged to learn more about the program, and print and fill out a pre-application form to expedite the clinic process at www.Denvergov.org/ANewLeaf. Questions about the Turn Over a New Leaf program should be emailed to NewLeaf@Denvergov.org.