Cannabis Possession – Will it be legal in Canada?

Cannabis related charges accounted for 58% (about 55,000) of all the police-reported convictions related to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act a couple of years ago and about two thirds of these charges were for possession. At least 500,000 Canadians have been charged for possession, as of 2014.

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The Supporters and Suppressors of the Cannabis Legalization

In January, Trudeau led Canadian government put down any possibility for imparting of pardon on Cannabis possession until any sort of legalization is put into motion by the federal government. The Liberals annihilated the only ray of hope put forward by an NDP motion, by voting against it. The motion was to grant amnesty to all Cannabis related offenses that would not have infringed the law after being legalized. Nevertheless, the Cannabis enthusiasts can assume their hopes and dreams to be shattered for now. In May, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale stated that Cannabis legalization was not the agenda at the moment. This declaration of his was somewhat of the final nail in the coffin.

The expunction movement has a few corporate sectors in its support to battle the legislation for now. This can be observed from the fact that Aurora Cannabis which is one Canada’s remarkable licensed producers donated a whopping $50K to Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty, an advocacy group.

Record Suspension – is it an option for a Cannabis possession convict?

The Criminal Records Act states that a person found guilty of a summary possession offense, i.e., less than 30 grams must wait a whole 5 years to be eligible to apply for a Record Suspension (earlier known as Pardon) in the present. The completion of all other sentences is a prerequisite for the stated penalty. The possession of that much Cannabis would be legal for the adults under the new legislation.

According to the Toronto based Cannabis lawyer Paul Lewin, the application cost for a Record Suspension (amounting to $631) combined with the documentation and record check fees and the cost of going through the government’s tedious procedure would amount to more than $1600, a meager sum to the affluent Cannabis enthusiasts. He also quoted that the amount is a manifestation of the armor to the clean records – which could provide employment, recuperation from addiction and other gains, especially for trivial citizens who got caught up in the mess and are often highly overrepresented in arrests pertaining to possession.

You can be arrested for possessing weed for now as the federal government clearly and frequently stated that Canadians will be charged for offenses related to Cannabis until legalization, which is set for Oct 17. Simon Fraser University’s Criminology professor Neil Boyd quoted until legalization is confirmed, expunction is far from reality and bills C-45 and C-46 embody nothing that eradicates prior possession convictions. He said that the fate of expunction was unclear until the post legalization legislation is revealed. According to him, the question to expunction has no answer to it at the moment.

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