Petition calls for erasure of convictions for simple cannabis possession in Canada

Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith of Beaches—East York authorized the e-petition in the House of Commons.

The current law provides only for suspension but not expungement of criminal records. Ivan-balvan/Getty Images

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A petition seeks to undo harms done on Canadians by the criminalization of cannabis.

The appeal calls on the federal Canadian government to acknowledge that prohibition “never should have existed”.

It urges the government to grant “expungements to Canadian citizens convicted of offences involving cannabis”.

The petition was initiated by Russell Bennett of Scarborough, Ontario, and authorized by Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith of Beaches—East York.

To recall, a law that provides no-cost and expedited suspension of criminal records for simple possession of cannabis came into force on August 1, 2019.

Specifically, this legislation, known as Bill C-93, followed the legalization of recreational weed on October 17, 2018.

The said law grants pardon, which means a suspension of criminal record.

However, it does not erase convictions.

To explain, people with cannabis convictions will only have their relevant record kept separate from other criminal records.

Simple possession refers to possession for personal use with no intent to traffic cannabis.

At present, possession of 30 grams of cannabis or less is no longer a crime.

Over a half-million Canadians have criminal records for pot possession.

The petition noted that “less than 500 pardons have been granted” so far.

“The legalization of cannabis in 2018 brought a scientific, harm-reduction approach but left those with criminal records to obtain their own relief, when it is incumbent upon the federal government to make that effort,” the appeal stated.

The petition is open for signature until April 19, 2022.

To sign, click here.

Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter at @carlitopablo

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