New legislation has been laid out that will pardon Canadians with past “simple” pot possession charges. The proposed plan will impact cases with possession of 30 grams of cannabis or less.
Public safety minister Ralph Goodale says the legislation will waive any waiting period and fee of $631 for those seeking a pardon of possession.
“Removing the stigma of a criminal record for people who have served their sentence and then shown themselves to be law abiding citizens enhances public safety for all Canadians,” Goodale said.
A pardon does not make a past conviction disappear though. Convictions related to crime will stay on people’s criminal records for life.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the pardon is going to have a positive impact on minorities and racial faces who have had past “simple” possessions.
” There is a disproportional representation of young people from minorities, racialized communities, who are saddled with criminal convictions for simple possession as a significant further challenge to success in the job market. Pardoning the possessions will make a huge difference to those who have been unfairly impacted by the previous regime.”
There is still discussion into what will happen with people who have had “large” past possession charges. Nick Cake, lawyer at Millars Law in London says these people should also have a fair chance for review of their charges.
“People who are in custody for large scale cultivations or for trafficking offences both of which will be illegal under the new regime, I think that their cases should be looked at. They should be re-evaluated in light of the new law,” says Nick Cake, lawyer at Millars Law firm.
Campaign for Cannabis Advocacy is a non-profit organization that has advocated for pot possession charges in recent years. They estimate around 500 000 Canadians have been convicted of small pot possession charges and will be affected by the new regime.
Lots of questions are yet to be answered as this is only the first day of Cannabis legalization.