The City of Denver is on a mission to better the lives of its local community by expunging all minor marijuana convictions. Thanks to Mayor Hancock, the City created the Turn Over a New Leaf Program to expunge marijuana charges from citizens’ records efficiently.
While the program is relatively new, the word is slowly making its way around the block. Over 10,000 people have minor marijuana convictions in Denver, but only about 200 people have taken advantage of the program thus far. For those who are wondering if they qualify for marijuana expungement or are afraid of coming forward, here is a full overview of the Turn Over a New Leaf Program and what it has to offer!
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What is the Turn Over a New Leaf Program?
The Turn Over a New Leaf Program is a citywide mission to remove all minor, or low-level, marijuana convictions from the record. It took the city seven years to create this program after legalization passed at the state level. In an effort to right the wrongs done to thousands of citizens over the years, the City of Denver is assisting all qualifying candidates in expunging their marijuana convictions free of charge.
This program is solely for those with cannabis convictions in the City of Denver. Unfortunately, any cannabis convictions outside of Denver, even if in the state of Colorado still, do not qualify for expungement. Granted, the City of Boulder is making the same program accessible to its citizens as well.
- Any candidate who resides or once resided in Denver and received a minor marijuana conviction qualifies to apply.
- Any low-level marijuana conviction that is now considered legal under state law qualifies for expungement:
- Possession of Less than 1 Ounce of Marijuana
- Marijuana Paraphernalia
- Marijuana-Infused Product Charges
- Any low-level industrial hemp charges also qualify for expungement.
The above list is a bit broad, but the program recommends any citizen who is curious if they qualify for marijuana expungement to still apply. It is a win-win situation for everybody involved and begins to right the wrongs done to thousands of cannabis consumers. Plus, it costs nothing to apply!
How to Apply for Marijuana Expungement in Denver
The process of applying for the expungement of any minor marijuana convictions is relatively easy thanks to the Turn Over a New Leaf Program. The streamlined process takes the worry, time, and money out of the citizen’s hands and takes care of it for them. With the help of local city representatives, volunteer support, and volunteer attorneys this program has a super clear expungement structure.
- Fill out the application by printing it off the city website or pre-applying though the online application.
- After applying, attend a local clinic, which will walk you through the entire process as well as the follow-up process. Even if you applied online, it is best to expedite the process by attending a local clinic.
- Once the application is in, the Denver City Attorney’s office or Denver District Attorney’s office will craft a motion to remove or vacate the marijuana conviction.
- The motion is filed in the local courts.
- A judge will determine the ruling and either grant or deny the motion. The applicant is notified immediately of the decision.
- If the motion is granted, the cannabis conviction is removed from the applicant’s record and sealed.
The process is straightforward and requires little time to complete. Most of the work falls on the city to file the motion and keep the candidate updated. Ultimately, the only thing someone needs to do is show up to a clinic and let the magic happen!
The process only takes a couple of hours, or less, to apply and is entirely free. The Turn Over a New Leaf Program will cover any fees that are unable to be waived. It really is a no brainer and anyone who may qualify should look into it.
Common Questions Asked by Candidates
It is understandable to be a bit nervous when dealing with the local government on criminal charges, but the program is not a hoax. For years, citizens have been living with a cloud over their heads for no reason. Even with statewide legalization, many people are stuck in jobs with no room for growth solely due to minor marijuana convictions. The Turn Over a New Leaf Program is attempting to right this wrong.
Can I expunge my marijuana record if I live outside of Denver?
As long as the conviction and charges were in the Denver jurisdiction, they can be expunged. Even those who had a marijuana charge in Denver, but no longer live in Denver, can have the record expunged by applying online. Any conviction not in Denver jurisdiction is unable to be expunged at this time.
Do I have to attend a local clinic to have the record expunged?
No, all applications may be done online. However, it is best to utilize the support of the clinics to expedite the process and answer any questions along the way.
What must I bring to the clinic to apply?
- Government-Issued Photo Identification
- Case Number (if available)
- Any Case Information
Do I need an attorney?
No, an attorney is provided to you either at the clinic or naturally through the online application.
How long does the process take to expunge a marijuana conviction?
The process does not take too long. It takes about 1-2 business days to file the motion and a few weeks to receive an answer from the judge.
Are there any costs associated with applying for marijuana expungement?
It is free of charge, and the Turn Over a New Leaf Program will cover any excess costs.
Is there a deadline to apply for expungement of marijuana convictions?
There is no deadline to apply. Granted, there are only a few clinics on the books right now, and the schedule of the clinics varies. Nevertheless, the online application is always available.
Upcoming Turn Over a New Leaf Events
Anyone who is curious about the marijuana expungement process in Denver should watch our Leafbuyer “Digital Town Hall” on the expungement program in Denver. We discussed how to get your record expunged through Denver’s program, and what other states are doing to help those with marijuana convictions.
The panel consisted of notable community members, including:
- Ricardo Baca, a 20-year veteran journalist, keynote speaker and thought leader in modern media and drug policy circles. He served as The Denver Post's first-ever marijuana editor and founded news vertical The Cannabist. In 2016, Mr. Baca launched Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency to work directly with business leaders in highly regulated industries, including cannabis, energy, hemp and healthcare. He has received numerous accolades for his trailblazing work. Mr. Baca was named Marketer of the Year by AdCann in 2019.
- Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
- Eric Escudero has served as the Director of Communications for Denver's Office of Excise and Licenses since March of 2018. Excise and Licenses is the central business-licensing department for the City and County of Denver and includes the Office of Marijuana Policy. With Denver, Escudero is responsible for leading communications to support policy and regulation of all the business licenses issued by Excise and Licenses. Before joining Denver, Escudero served for 8 years as a media communications lead with the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under President Obama and President Trump.
- Anshul Bagga has served as a Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City and County of Denver since 2016. He originally joined the Denver City Attorney's Office in 2014 as a fellow. Bagga provides legal advice to the Denver Office of Excise and Licenses, which includes the Office of Marijuana Policy.
- Andrew Livingston, Director of Economics and Research for Vicente Sederberg LLP, the nation's preeminent law firm specializing in cannabis and hemp law and policy. In this role, he provides analysis on legal and regulatory matters as well as economic market projections for adult-use and medical marijuana laws in Colorado and around the world. He also sits on the Denver Cannabis Sustainability Working Group and helps coordinate government and industry efforts to increase environmental stewardship within cannabis business.
Later this month, you can also attend the upcoming clinic. It is the last clinic scheduled at the moment, but the online application will always be available. The clinics are held to help ease the minds of anyone who is worried about the process. The program even offers a $10 Lyft credit for anyone who needs a ride to and from the clinic.
Saturday, May 18
Denver Broncos Boys and Girls Club
4397 Crown Blvd
Denver, CO 80239
Spread the word to all your cannabis friends and make sure they seize this opportunity to change their lives. It is incredible just how many people have minor marijuana convictions still affecting their daily living. It is an injustice that people are not expunging their minor records merely because they don’t know of the available process.
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