Here’s how to apply for long-promised cannabis pardons

Since cannabis was legalized last fall, the federal Liberals have promised an easy path for Canadians with prohibition-era marijuana possession.

Thursday in Montreal, federal justice minister David Lametti announced details of how to go about it.

Story continues below

People who want to clear their slate face a complex process that involves getting their fingerprints taken, applying for a copy of their criminal record and getting a record check from their local police.

Former members of the military face an extra step of getting a copy of their conduct sheet, either from the defence department or from the national archives.

And if possession convictions that they know exist aren’t in the records, they face the task of proving that they happened.

READ MORE: Pardons aren’t supposed to be visible at the U.S. border. Here’s why they often are

However, the pardons will be free (normally it costs $631 to apply) and won’t be subject to a waiting period. Normally someone applying for a pardon has to wait a number of years before asking for it, depending on the seriousness of the crime.

Bill C-93, which provided for the pardons, was passed by Parliament in June. A rival NDP bill called for cannabis offences to be expunged — completely erased, rather than suspended — as was done for historic same-sex offences.

About 250,000 Canadians have prohibition-era records for simple possession of marijuana, Lametti said. The main problem, for those who don’t otherwise have a criminal record, involves problems crossing the U.S. border. A cannabis-related conviction can lead to a lifetime ban on entering the United States. 

WATCH: Why a pardon can make crossing the border harder


Next Post

N.B. Policing Association wary of legalization of cannabis edibles

Thu Aug 1 , 2019
There’s increasing concern among law enforcement officials in New Brunswick, who say they still don’t have the resources to properly police edibles. Sgt. Chanel Roy, president of the New Brunswick Policing Association, says officers still don’t have a reliable roadside method of detecting if drivers have smoked pot, let alone […]