Despite Looming Legalization, Cannabis Possession Charges Remain a Reality

Article by Andrea Ross, CBC News

An Edmonton man says a recent cannabis possession charge has put his business in jeopardy and left him frustrated with the state of the justice system in advance of legalization.

Roman Lyubashenko said he was cruising the Anthony Henday Drive the morning of March 14 when he was pulled over by a Sherwood Park RCMP officer for having tinted windows.

While speaking with him, the officer noticed cannabis residue on his centre console. The officer asked him if he had a medicinal licence or any cannabis in the vehicle. Lyubashenko, who said he doesn’t smoke marijuana but has friends who do, told the officer he wasn’t sure. The officer arrested him, Lyubashenko said.

While Lyubashenko was in the back of the police cruiser, the officer found a small bag of cannabis in his car. He was charged with possession of marijuana under 30 grams, and released on a promise to appear in court.

At the time, Lyubashenko thought it was a joke.

“I was calm,” he said. “I was sure that it was funny, due to the circumstances, how it’s going to be legalized. I thought it was a silly situation. But now I have to go to court. And [a] chance of getting a criminal record for something that is so common in this country.”

Lyubashenko said the amount of cannabis found in his vehicle was less than two grams, and he never thought someone could potentially get a criminal record for possessing such a small amount, especially when the drug is expected to be legalized as early as this summer.

Read the full article here.

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