Article by Lift News
Almost 7,000 people 25 years and under have been charged with cannabis possession in Canada between October 2015 and April 2017, according to numbers from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, released today by the National Post. Of those 7000, 774 resulted in convictions.
The article also notes that more than 8,300 Canadians over 25 years of age were charged, and 1,361 were convicted.
The Liberals were elected in October 2015 on a promise to legalize cannabis and end arrests for personal possession. Although cannabis related arrests have continued even after the election, they have continued to decline over the past several years in Canada from record highs earlier this decade.
The Liberal Party even approved and ran a campaign video in the lead up to the 2015 election that had a young man asking “Why should getting caught with a joint put an end to my future?” Trudeau suggested at one Vancouver campaign stop that the party would look at overturning past conviction records for those charged with basic possession.
Then, on April 20th, 2016 at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs, Canada’s Health Minister Jane Philpott told the assembly that Canada would be tabling legislation to legalize marijuana by the spring of 2017 and that the approach of prohibition has failed, telling the audience that “We know it is impossible to arrest our way out of this problem.”
According to the National Post report, the total number of arrests and convictions is likely higher than these initial figures suggest because Quebec and New Brunswick prosecution services do not monitor other police agencies outside the RCMP. The number of convictions could also increase significantly, says the article, as about half of the prosecutions are still in progress.
Although many in the NDP have been calling for the immediate end to arrests for small, personal amounts of cannabis, as well as calling for amnesty for past arrests, the Liberals continue to argue that this would run counter to their goal of targeting organized crime.