Colorado Should Release Non-Violent Pot Offenders

Matt Ferner wonders why this isn't already happening
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2014 1:36 PM CST

(Newser) – Earlier this week, a fake news story claiming that Colorado was releasing people imprisoned for pot crimes went viral. The story was meant as a joke—"but in all seriousness, why is this not happening?" writes Matt Ferner in the Huffington Post. A number of advocates have called for the release of anyone imprisoned for marijuana-related crimes that didn't hurt anyone else—and while there likely aren't many people still in jail in Colorado for simple marijuana possession, a decision like this could still help many people.

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For example, imprisoned "habitual offenders" could see their sentences commuted if any marijuana charges on their records were expunged. Others who've already served time could be pardoned or granted clemency. Without a marijuana conviction on their records, these people would have an easier time finding employment or housing. And because blacks and Latinos in Colorado have been arrested for marijuana possession at a higher rate than whites, Ferner writes, "a policy of retroactive clemency could also help right some racial wrongs." Click for his full column. (Read more marijuana legalization stories.)

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