Why Cannabis Pardons May be on the Horizon
We complained; they listened
Since the liberal government officially announced its goal to legalize cannabis in Canada by July 2018, it seems like there’s a headline everyday about Bill C-45. Whether it’s reforming the height of plants, or allowing edibles into the market, progress is being made every day. These amendments occur in the House of Commons during meetings with witnesses and members of parliament, and can be found here.
Predicting the future
As meetings to discuss changes for the new cannabis legislation act continue, so do regular reports released by Health Canada and provinces alike. These reports often include recommendations that foreshadow what changes will occur next. For example, in a leaked document we see initial concerns for plant height, which resulted in the legislation change we mentioned earlier.
As many cannabis experts continue to weigh into the conversation of legalization; one topic has been present since the beginning: What are we going to do about the millions of Canadians who have a criminal record for possession of cannabis? There has been an outcry to pardon marijuana offenders since 2015. Many outlets report there are currently no plans for a pardoning process, but that hasn’t stopped one Member of Parliament.
Meet Bill Casey. He’s a 72 year old Member of Parliament who has some serious concerns about bill C-45. Casey is the only member to write an open letter regarding these concerns, and is a good indication as to what is next to come. He sits as the Chair on the Standing Committee of Health, which has influence over some key cannabis regulators. In the letter he writes;
“The Committee agrees with witnesses that an improved system for record suspensions for previous cannabis-related convictions is required, and urges the federal government to address this issue in a timely manner, paying particular attention to the barriers faced by marginalized individuals in applying for a record suspension.”
By submitting this letter to the Attorney General, Minister of Health and Minister of Public Safety, MP Casey has guaranteed this will be among the final cannabis legalization talking points. While officially the Government of Canada will not be addressing pardons, the seed that Bill Casey planted with this letter is one we plan to see grow.
If you want to see pardons for marijuana convictions, write to your local MP to keep the conversation going!