Discover comprehensive insights into the Colorado cannabis expungement process through these detailed and informative Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
How did Colorado handle expungements for cannabis?
In 2020, Colorado finally introduced and signed an Executive Order (C2020 004), that pardons individuals with convictions of possession of one ounce or less of cannabis. In 2021, the amount was raised to two ounces through Executive Order (C2021 019).
All felonies? Only non-violent?
Colorado evaluates an individual’s eligibility on a case-by-case system. The Marijuana Enforcement Division may consider any felony as the approval or denial of a license.
In general, A person is prohibited from licensure if the person was convicted of a felony within 3 years of applying for licensure or is currently serving a sentence for a felony or a deferred judgment or sentence.
Were there any crimes related to cannabis that disqualified someone from applying as a social equity applicant?
While a cannabis conviction will not disqualify a social equity applicant, each applicant may be disqualified based on the findings of their criminal background check.
Status of Current Social Equity Program:
Denver’s marijuana social equity program reserves store, transporter, cultivation, manufacturing, and hospitality licenses for social equity applicants until July 1, 2027. There is no cap on the number of licenses available to social equity applicants.
There are three criteria categories that an applicant can be eligible under:
- Criteria 1: The applicant must have lived for a minimum of 15 years between 1980 and 2010 in a census tract identified by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade as either an Opportunity Zone or a Disproportionate Impacted Area.
- To verify if a specific address lies within these zones utilize the provided mapping tool. Ensure the “Opportunity Zones” option is activated from the Layer list located in the upper right corner.
- Qualification is possible using multiple residential addresses.
- Criteria 2: The applicant or the applicant’s parent, legal guardian, sibling, spouse, child, or minor in their guardianship was arrested for a marijuana offense, convicted of a marijuana offense, or was subject to civil asset forfeiture related to a marijuana investigation; or
- Criteria 3: The applicant’s household income in the year before the application did not exceed 50% of the state median income as measured by the number of people who reside in the applicant’s household.
- Tax Return Reference: Applicants should refer to their federal income tax return (IRS Form 1040) for the previous calendar year. For instance, if applying in 2022, the 2021 tax return is relevant. Ensure the tax return for the specified year is filed before initiating the application.
- Calculating Total Household Income: For most filing statuses, Line 9 of Form 1040 provides the total household income.
- If married and filing separately, combine the incomes from Line 9 of both the applicant’s and spouse’s tax returns.
- Determining Household Size: The household size includes the applicant, their spouse (if any), and any dependents listed in the Dependents section of Form 1040.
- Income Eligibility Check: Compare the total household income with the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2022 median income table.
- Select the relevant state and household size. The displayed figure represents 50% of the median income for that category. To qualify as a social equity applicant, the total household income should be below this value.
- Subsequent Applications: If an applicant qualifies for a marijuana business license based on income criteria in a given year and wishes to apply the following year using the same criteria, they must provide the tax return for the previous year.
The applicant must also hold at least 51% ownership of the marijuana business.
The State Marijuana Enforcement Division’s Social Equity website contains additional information about the criteria for qualifying as a social equity applicant. If you have questions about the criteria, contact the Marijuana Enforcement Division.
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