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Colorado Court of Appeals Opens Possibility for Retroactive Application of Amendment 64 in Marijuana Possession Cases

Colorado continues to navigate the complexities of its evolving marijuana landscape, with the Colorado Court of Appeals issuing a significant decision last week. The Court ruled that Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana, could potentially apply retroactively to specific marijuana possession cases. This means that individuals previously found guilty of possessing less than the newly established legal limit of 1 ounce of marijuana might have their convictions reconsidered.

However, there’s a crucial caveat to this ruling—it exclusively pertains to individuals who were already in the process of appealing their convictions when the updated marijuana laws took effect in 2012. Unfortunately, this ruling does not benefit those who faced convictions in prior decades, such as individuals in the 1970s or college students in the early 2000s.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers downplayed the impact of the ruling, highlighting that possession of an ounce or less of marijuana was already considered a petty offense, subject to a $100 fine. He emphasized that no one could be incarcerated for such a minor offense.

On the other hand, marijuana advocate Brian Vicente, who played a role in drafting Amendment 64, argued that Colorado still prosecutes approximately 9,000 marijuana possession cases each year. Some of these cases were under appeal when marijuana was decriminalized. Vicente’s perspective underscores the significance of the Court’s ruling despite its limited scope.

Despite Attorney General Suthers’ reservations, he has voiced his intent to appeal the ruling, asserting that a law must explicitly specify its retroactive applicability. He contends that Amendment 64 lacks language indicating such retroactive application.

Nonetheless, this decision sets a precedent that could have broader implications for other marijuana-related cases. It reflects the willingness of state prosecutors to reconsider pending marijuana cases following the approval of the new law. Suppose you believe that you may have a similar case eligible for reversal. In that case, we encourage you to contact Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, at 720-542-6148. Our law firm specializes in alcohol and drug-related driving offenses in Colorado. It is committed to assisting clients in navigating complex legal matters, including those related to marijuana legalization. As Colorado’s legal landscape evolves, staying informed and seeking legal counsel when needed remains crucial.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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