The United States Conference of Mayors is a non-partisan organization bringing together mayors from U.S. cities with populations above 30,000. At their annual summer meeting, Denver, Colorado mayor Michael Hancock took the lead organizing a task force, dubbed the Government for Responsible U.S. Cannabis Policy Coalition, to take everything cities have learned about legal weed and make policy recommendations to Congress and the White House. In addition to developing resolutions for the federal government, the coalition also drew up a resolution calling on local governments to vacate marijuana charges for now-legal conduct. And after months of developing a process, Mayor Hancock brought the Coalition’s expungement resolution back home, announcing Tuesday a citywide effort to expunge all low-level marijuana convictions in Denver.
More than 10,000 People Just Became Eligible for Expungement in Denver
According to Denver’s public crime data, judges convicted over 10,000 people for low-level, non-violent marijuana offenses between 2001 and 2013. Over that same period, Denver’s population grew from about 565,000 to 650,000 people. And that means that in the 21st century, Denver convicted roughly 2 percent of its population for things like possessing small amounts of weed or consuming it in public. Of course, that 2 percent wasn’t evenly distributed across the population. Instead, marijuana convictions came down vastly disproportionately on people of color and vulnerable low-income residents.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock called the city’s history of drug enforcement “an injustice that needs to be corrected.” And today, he announced the opening of a pathway to vacate all pre-legalization marijuana convictions. The move is the result of months of planning with the Office of Marijuana Policy, the City Attorney’s Office, District Attorney Beth McCann and the Denver County Courts. And it brings Denver together with other U.S. cities in New York, Vermont, California, Washington, Delaware and elsewhere that have opened up expungement processes for those with pre-legalization convictions.
Denver Adds Expungement to Growing List of Cannabis Equity Resolutions
Expungements are a matter of social and criminal justice. They both acknowledge the racist disproportionality of drug enforcement and make immediate and often substantial differences in people’s lives. Drug convictions, even for low-level and misdemeanor marijuana offenses, have a seemingly never-ending string of knockdown effects. Arrest and booking already threaten income, employment, childcare and housing. But convictions can lead to job loss and the inability to take out loans for school or to start a business. They can cause people to lose their federal benefits and immigration status. They can make it hard to find work, secure housing and even just move about freely.
Expungement is only part of the picture, however. Access to economic opportunity in the cannabis industry is also a major component of improving equity in the marijuana market. In Denver, officials estimate the cannabis industry was responsible for creating nearly 10,000 new jobs between 2014 and 2017. Denver’s total employment comes to about 520,000 jobs, according to The Denver Channel. And that means cannabis employs about 2 percent of all workers in the city. Denver is also using data from the industry to identify where and how to develop its workforce and encourage licensing, ownership and entrepreneurship in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. “We believe in equal opportunity for all,” Hancock said in today’s announcement.
Texas House Approves Bill to Legalize Hemp Farming
10 Podcasts to Get Stoned To
Lawmakers Push to Send More of Colorado’s Weed Revenues to Kindergarteners
Maine Unveils Draft of Recreational Marijuana Regulatory Structure
Michigan Commission Recommends No Limit on THC in Drivers’ Bodies
Back To Black: Why Consumers Are Staying Loyal To The Illicit Cannabis Market
The High Times 100 of 2018
Seth Rogen Launches Cannabis Company “Houseplant”
Foods7 days ago
Carl’s Jr. to Launch CBD-Infused Burger in Denver Location This 420
Entertainment5 days ago
The Animated History of 420: Our Video of the Week
News6 days ago
Cheech and Chong to Help Tribal Cannabis Shop Celebrate Grand Opening
News5 days ago
Coast Guard Unloads 7 Tons of Seized Pot in Florida
Culture5 days ago
This 420, We Need To Be Listening To Green Corridos
News7 days ago
North Carolina Democrats File Bill to Decriminalize Small Amounts of Marijuana
News7 days ago
Canadian Officials Announce Cannabis is Permitted at Yukon Camping Sites
Entertainment5 days ago
Kurupt, Legendary Snoop & 2Pac Collaborator, Talks MoonRocks and History With Weed