Canadian Government Won't Pardon People For Past Cannabis Convictions

The federal public safety minister says the plan to legalize recreational marijuana does not include a general amnesty for past pot convictions.

Ralph Goodale tells The Canadian Press not to expect a blanket pardon for people with records for possessing small amounts of the drug.

The C.D. Howe Institute, a prominent think−tank, has recommended the government consider pardoning people convicted of pot possession - and drop any outstanding charges - to free up much-needed resources for legalization.

Goodale notes there is already a formal process to have a criminal record set aside.

Those convicted of simple possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana are eligible to apply for a pardon, now known as a record suspension, five years after their sentence is completed.

An internal Public Safety Canada briefing note, released last year under the Access to Information Act, said the issue of record suspensions would be "important to consider during the marijuana legalization discussions."

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As medical marijuana continues to gain ground across the US, more and more colleges are adding cannabis to their curriculum. In fact, more than half of America's pharmaceutical schools (62 percent) now teach students about medical marijuana according to a new survey conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Pharmacy. "With more states legalizing medical marijuana, student pharmacists must be prepared to effectively care for their patients who may use medical marijuana alone or in combination with prescription or over-the-counter medications," the study's authors wrote.