Indigenous Man First to Be Sentenced for Possession Under Canadian Cannabis Act

31-year-old Indigenous Winnipeg man Rodney Clayton Felix was sentenced to 10 months in jail for cannabis possession with intent to distribute.  

Felix is believed to be the first person to be sentenced for a weed crime under Canada’s new Cannabis Act, according to a report from Vice.

Felix pleaded guilty to a possessing 86 grams of cannabis in provincial court on Tuesday. The legal limit for public possession is 30 grams. The defendant’s lawyer, Scott Paler, said that he could not find a legal precedent under the Cannabis Act, which was first enacted after legalization.

The defendant was caught with the cannabis in an electronics store last November after creating a scene over being 15 cents short for a speaker. The police searched him after arriving on the scene.

The Crown attorney asked for a 15 month jail sentence, while Paler asked for a reduced sentence more in line with the fines associated with selling bootleg liquor.

But, according to presiding Judge Dale C. Schille, Felix is, "any way you slice it, a drug dealer."

"Why is when a corporate entity sells cannabis in a manner that’s not authorized, they get a ticket, but an Aboriginal man selling marijuana at a fairly low level, unsophisticated way, and they end up seeking a fairly significant jail sentence," asked Felix’s lawyer.

According to a recent statistic, 26.4 percent of the federal prison population is Indigenous, despite only comprising 4.9 percent of the overall Canadian population.

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