Article by Ryan Patrick Jones, CBC News
A group of Toronto lawyers, activists and entrepreneurs launched a petition Friday calling on the federal government to grant amnesty to people convicted of simple cannabis possession charges.
“If the federal government is going to legalize cannabis, then it doesn’t make any sense for these convictions to stay on people’s records,” said criminal defence lawyer Annamaria Enenajor, the director of the Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty.
The petition urges parliament to pass legislation granting full pardons for people convicted of possessing 30 grams of marijuana or less. Right now, the bill legalizing marijuana does nothing address those with criminal records for pot-related offences.
The group will officially launch its campaign at the Global Marijuana March at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Saturday. The annual event is expected to draw hundreds of cannabis users and others from the cannabis industry.
Enenajor says the group hopes to collect 5,000 signatures by the end of May, and she thinks they have the potential to get over a million.
“There is a strong appetite among the Canadian public for showing compassion to these individuals who, as a result of indiscretions in their youth, have this conviction on their record,” she said.
A May 2017 public opinion poll conducted by The Globe and Mail and Nanos Research found that 62 per cent of Canadians support, or somewhat support, the idea of issuing pardons to those with criminal records for possession.