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Data Stories

Deep dives into the Twentieth Judicial District Attorney's office.

Moving on From Marijuana Initiative

By Ken Kupfner · August 31, 2022

In December 2012, Amendment 64 was enacted in Colorado effectively legalizing recreational marijuana for persons over 21 years of age.  In the years that followed, it became evident that many people had convictions on their records for marijuana offenses that were no longer illegal and in fact were now constitutionally protected under Amendment 64.

Michael Dougherty was appointed as the District Attorney in the Twentieth Judicial District in March 2018 and elected by Boulder County voters in November 2018.  DA Dougherty made it a priority to address and correct the convictions for prior conduct that had become constitutionally protected.

In 2019, the District Attorney’s Office launched its “Moving On From Marijuana” initiative.  Moving On From Marijuana is a District Attorney’s Office program that vacates and seals old convictions on qualifying marijuana offenses.  The District Attorney’s Office believes it is a matter of fundamental fairness to eliminate the impact of convictions for constitutionally protected conduct. Since 2019, the District Attorney’s Office has advanced this effort by advertising events where people could walk in to ask questions and get the process started.  Individuals can obtain information from the District Attorney’s website and are now able to request review by email.

A web form is available to be filled out at:

Moving-on-from-MJ-Web-Form.pdf (

Drug Dispositions

By Ken Kupfner · August 15, 2022

Historically the District Attorney’s Office has sought to provide treatment opportunities rather than incarceration for individuals experiencing substance use disorders. For many years the standard disposition for felony drug (controlled substance) possession involved entering a guilty plea to a misdemeanor with a stipulation to probation with treatment.  Despite the fact that the intent of these dispositions was rehabilitative and not punitive, they often resulted in unintended collateral consequences and criminalizing substance use disorders.  

In 2020, with support from the District Attorney’s Office, the Colorado legislature reduced the criminal offense level of most drug possession offenses from a felony to a misdemeanor.  As the understanding of substance use disorder has advanced, so too has the District Attorney’s Office approach to these cases.  The District Attorney’s Office now extensively utilizes diversion programing in possession cases to provide opportunities for treatment using a harm reduction framework. Diversion of drug possession cases helps to prevent the collateral consequences that often result from involvement in the criminal justice system, addresses underlying risks and needs, and recognizes that possession and use should be treated vastly differently than distribution or poisoning offenses.           

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