No judgement if you've been convicted of a cannabis offence pre-legalization but the good news is that today, you can finally apply for a pardon from the Canadian government and get that record clean!
According to the Huffington Post, up to 250,000 Canadians are now eligible to apply for a free federal pardon that'll wipe most Canadian cannabis offence records from Canadian and American police and border patrol databases.
Bill C-93 was introduced in March 2019 and will allow "Canadians who have been previously convicted only of simple cannabis possession to apply for a pardon with no application fee or wait period, once their sentence has been served." The pardon will only be granted for offences that happened pre-legalization.
This morning in Montreal, Federal Justice Minister David Lametti detailed the finer points of this new initiative. He announced a simple five-step process that can be easily completed online.
Pardons will only apply to individuals who've been charged with "simple possession." As defined by the government, "simple possession generally refers to a criminal charge given by law enforcement for possession of a controlled substance, in this case, cannabis, for personal use with no intent to traffic."
According to CTV News, people convicted of simple possession before legalization faced up to six months in prison along with a $1,000 fine.
Pardons would typically cost $631 to apply and would be processed many years after, depending on the crime, according to Global News. Today, the Canadian Government will waive application fees and processing times.
Granting pardons to "simple possession" cannabis offenders was one of Justin Trudeau's promises during his campaign to legalize marijuana. Still, experts are worried that pardons aren't enough.
Many are calling on the government to grant expungements to cannabis offenders, according to Huffington Post. The main concern is that pardons can still be viewed by certain government agencies, cancelled by a parole board or the next government.
Expungements delete all traces of criminal offence across the board. The differences between the two are certainly vast and experts worry that pardons won't be respected.
If you were convicted of simple possession before legalization, you can now apply for a federal pardon!
To apply for a free federal pardon, please visit the official Government of Canada portal.