On Wednesday, October 17, not only was Canadian history made following the legalization of cannabis, but lives may change as the federal government announced it plans to pardon people with past convictions for cannabis possession.
At a press conference at Parliament Hill on Wednesday morning, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said the government will offer “necessary resources” to let Canadians seek pardons for possession offences once they have completed their sentences.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said pardons for people who have served their sentence and then shown themselves to be upstanding citizens will “becomes a matter of basic fairness when older laws from a previous era are changed.”
“We will be proposing another new law to make things fairer for Canadians who have been previously convicted of simple possession of cannabis. As a general principle, we’re removing the stigma of a criminal record for people who have served their sentence and shown themselves to be law-abiding citizens enhances public safety for all Canadians,” said Goodale.
Goodale added there will be no further waiting period for people seeking pardons after they’ve served their sentences, and no fee will be charged for processing the request.
The newly legalized Cannabis Act will keep profits from going into the pockets of criminal organizations and street gangs.
Additionally, the Canadian government has created a new criminal offence to make it illegal to sell cannabis to a minor and added significant penalties for those who engage young Canadians in cannabis-related offences, according to the federal government.