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Canadian Cannabis Pardon Legislation Remains in Limbo

Four months after Canada legalized recreational cannabis across the country, the promised legislation to help pardon citizens convicted of cannabis possession is nowhere to be seen. 

In a legalization day press conference on the subject back in October, the country’s Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said the bill would be "in the House of Commons for consideration before the end of the year."

The end of the year, however, came and went – and the promised pardons remain no less uncertain.

The details disclosed thus far state that the Liberals’ plan for notional pardons will make it easier to attain a criminal record suspension for the past crime of simple cannabis possession, so long as the applicant has competed their sentence. This will not come free, as the applicant will have to pay a $631 fee, unless the sentence was completed more than five years before, in which case, the charge will be waived.

This plan, however, is contingent on the passing of the bill, which, as of yet, hasn't been brought to the table. While Goodale has said that he would sponsor the bill when it finally does arrive, it there is no word on when that might be.

"Our government kept our promise to Canadians to legalize and strictly regulate cannabis... While further work is ongoing, our country has come a long way in a short time," Goodale’s spokesperson wrote in a statement to the Winnipeg Free Press.

While pardons are not as effective as full expungements, the action would still serve to make it easier for Canadians convicted of cannabis possession to move on with their lives.


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