cannabis pardons canada

Pardons for cannabis possession now available in Canada

Bill C-93, which allows Canadians who have been previously convicted of simple cannabis possession to apply for a pardon, comes into effect today. 

“Starting today, people who have a criminal record only for simple possession of cannabis can apply for a free, no-wait pardon using this expedited process — making it easier to work, go to school, travel and actively participate in their communities,” said Federal Justice Minister David Lametti in a press conference. 

Simple possession refers to a criminal charge for possession of a controlled substance for personal use with no intent to traffic.

The bill was introduced by the Government of Canada on March 1, 2019, and Lametti called the bill the "next logical step" in the process of ending cannabis prohibition in Canada. 

He estimated that approximately 250,000 Canadians have been charged with some form of cannabis conviction. 

"One of the lingering consequences of the previous system is that it saddled many Canadians with criminal records and the people affected are disproportionately from minority communities,” he said. 

According to the Government of Canada, a pardon —also known as a record suspension — removes a person's criminal record from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. This means a search of the database wouldn't show that the individual has a criminal record or was pardoned. 

“We promised to introduce legislation to provide pardons with no application fee and no wait time," Lametti said. "Today that commitment becomes a reality.”

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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