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Drugs

Looks Like Canada Will Pardon Small Weed Convictions

Government sources told CBC they’ll announce pardon plans the morning of legalization.

by Sarah Berman
Oct 16 2018, 11:59pm

Photo by Wesley Gibbs on Unsplash

On the eve of legalization, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has hinted they’ll do more than change weed laws on October 17: they’re also planning to pardon Canadians with past “simple possession” convictions.

On CBC’s Power and Politics Tuesday afternoon, government sources told Catherine Cullen the Liberals “intend to proceed with offering pardons to Canadians who have a simple possession conviction when it comes to cannabis.”

The pardon plan is different from offering amnesty or record expungement, and will only apply to possession charges of 30 grams or less, according to CTV News.

Details of the plan are going to be announced at a Wednesday morning press conference in Ottawa attended by the country’s public safety, health, border security, and justice ministers.

Earlier this month, the New Democratic Party’s leader and justice critic tabled a bill calling for amnesty for people convicted of nonviolent weed charges.

Studies have repeatedly shown that people of colour are disproportionately criminalized for cannabis use, while white men tend to profit from legal weed business. A VICE News investigation found that black and Indigenous people are still overrepresented in Canada’s weed possession arrests, even under Justin Trudeau.

In the past, Trudeau has maintained his government won’t look at weed pardons until after legalization comes into force, a point he repeated to reporters Tuesday. “We're going to be working on that as I’ve said, as soon as the day of legalization comes into force.”

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