Cannabis Amnesty campaign in Canada receives new support from Aurora

Nonprofit calls for automatic expungement of criminal records for simple possession of cannabis.

Legislation allows individuals to apply and have their criminal records suspended. Vladimir Koval/Getty Images

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On August 1, 2019, a new law that provides no-cost and expedited suspension of criminal records for simple possession of cannabis came into force in Canada.

Bill C-93 followed the legalization of recreational weed on October 17, 2018.

With this legislation, the federal government declared that it delivered its promise to remove the stigma of a criminal record related to pot possession for personal use prior to legalization.

However, a nonprofit believes that the fight for “true cannabis amnesty” is not over.

As Cannabis Amnesty explains online, Bill C-93 does not meet the group’s standard for “fair and effective cannabis amnesty”.

This is because the law does not provide for the expungement or permanent deletion of criminal records relating to cannabis.

In addition, the process is not automatic. It requires an application with the Parole Board of Canada.

Hence, the campaign for cannabis amnesty continues.

In line with this, Aurora Cannabis Inc. announced Monday (November 22) its renewed sponsorship of Cannabis Amnesty’s advocacy work for blanket pardons.

“The sponsorship will support Cannabis Amnesty’s campaign to right these historical wrongs – especially the impact on racialized communities,” states a media release by the Alberta-based recreational and medical cannabis company.

The release noted that over half a million Canadians “still have criminal records for simply possessing cannabis”.

“We have a responsibility to those communities who have been disproportionately impacted,” Aurora CEO Miguel Martin said.

Martin also said that people should not be burdened with a criminal record for a “minor, non-harmful act that is no longer a crime”.

Aurora is contributing $50,000 for Cannabis Amnesty’s work.

In the same release, Cannabis Amnesty founder Annamaria Enenajor stated that Aurora’s sponsorship “demonstrates leadership within the cannabis industry”.

The government maintains that expungement is limited only to extraordinary circumstances, wherein an act should not have been criminal to begin with.

With simple possession of 30 grams of cannabis or less, which legalization has now allowed, it asserts that criminal conviction was justified in the past before legalization.

Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter at @carlitopablo

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