Article by Katya Slepian, Comox Valley Record
The Trudeau government has pledged to legalize marijuana in the spring, but anyone who’s been convicted of a pot-related crime won’t be off the hook right away.
A federal task force on legalization recommended this week to allow storefront and mail-order sales of marijuana to people 18 years old and up, and to not sell it alongside cigarettes or alcohol.
But just like the federal Liberals, it said little about how the government should go about pardoning those who’ve been convicted of possession, trafficking, or production or marijuana, and more, once marijuana is made legal.
“The impact of being arrested and convicted for simple cannabis possession offences has serious ramifications,” it reads. “The stigma of arrest, and the possibility of having a criminal record, are life-long consequences.”
Possession of marijuana is a federal offence under the Controlled Substances Act. A first conviction can lead to fines of up to $1,000, six months in jail or both. It can also lead to a criminal record.
Currently, people convicted of possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana can apply for a pardon, or record suspension, five years after they complete their sentence.