Colorado: Executive Order Prevents Denial of Professional Licensure to Those with Past Cannabis Convictions

Denver, CO: Those with prior in-state or out-of-state marijuana-related convictions will no longer be denied professional licensure in Colorado, under an executive order signed by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

The new order (Executive Order 34: Protecting Colorado’s Workforce and Expanding Licensing Opportunities) states: “No one who lawfully consumes, possesses, cultivates or processes marijuana pursuant to Colorado law should be subject to professional sanctions or denied a professional license in Colorado. This includes individuals who consume, possess, cultivate or process marijuana in another state in a manner that would be legal in Colorado.

It directs the state Department of Regulatory Affairs, which oversees professional licensing for close to 1 million Coloradans in at least 50 different sectors, to “promulgate and issue rules as necessary to ensure that no person shall be subject to disciplinary action against a professional license or disqualified from professional licensure for any civil or criminal judgment, discipline or other sanction threatened or imposed under the laws of another state regarding consumption, possession, cultivation or processing of marijuana so long as the actions are lawful and consistent with professional conduct and standards of care within the state of Colorado.”

The Governor said that the order was necessary in order to stimulate job growth in the state. “There is a workforce shortage in Colorado,” he wrote. “Employers are having difficulty recruiting and retaining qualified employees, many of whom need professional licenses. The exclusion of people from the workforce because of marijuana-related activities that are lawful in Colorado, but illegal in other states, hinders our economy and our state.”

Full text of the executive order is online.