Denver efforts to clear marijuana-related convictions from criminal records starts slowly

Denver efforts to clear marijuana-related convictions from criminal records starts slowly

Despite much fanfare, Denver’s attempt to help people shed the burden of minor marijuana convictions experienced a slow start. Extremely slow. In Denver, 60 people have successfully vacated their convictions in the city program’s first six months — less than 1% of the more than 13,000 eligible for expungement, according to city data. In Boulder, 11 people have cleared their record of the at least 4,000 people eligible, according to the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office. Seven years after legalization and two years after state lawmakers passed a bill allowing expungement, city leaders and prosecutors are struggling to guide people through a complex process to erase minor pot convictions. The process can be lengthy and often requires digging through court records — if those documents can be found. Ashley Kilroy, director of Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses which oversees the city’s Turn Over a New Leaf program, said she is happy about Denver’s numbers. She expected turnout to be low based on the experience of other cities that have instituted similar programs. “I think we did the best we could,” she said. RELATED: New Denver program can make old marijuana conviction disappear Hundreds more applied to the programs, but were ineligible because their case happened in other jurisdictions or because they were convicted of charges that don’t qualify for expungement. The city department has started working in the jails to contact people who may be eligible. Convictions of even low-level marijuana offenses can affect peoples’ ability to get a job, secure a loan, gain admission to educational programs and their ability to travel, Kilroy said. It’s difficult to point out exactly what caused the low turnout, Kilroy said. The city attempted to address barriers like transportation by providing ride-share coupons and scheduled the clinics at different times so people with…

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Source : Denver Post
Link to original : Denver efforts to clear marijuana-related convictions from criminal records starts slowly
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