Calgary Criminal Justice Expert Says Pardoning Pot Charges No Simple Task

Article by Elizabeth Cameron, Metro News

Calgary criminal justice expert says pardoning pot charges no simple task  A national advocacy group is recommending eliminating fees for record suspensions of non-violent marijuana-related convictions

People with a record of pot possession should be able to access a ‘simplified, free’ Record Suspension process, a for-profit advocate for Canadians with criminal records said in a report issued Thursday.

AllCleared, formerly Pardon Services Canada, released a set of recommendationsincluding eliminating fees for Record Suspensions, or ‘pardons’ of non-violent marijuana-related convictions.

According to Statistics Canada, 17,733 people were charged with offences related to marijuana possession in 2016.

Individuals currently have to wait five years from the date of sentence completion to apply for a record suspension, which takes several months to complete.

“Many young people who are struggling with unemployment, student loans and other pressures cannot access the record suspension program until many years later,” part of the report reads, citing a lack of finances and understanding of the process as examples.

“Our recommendation is that people with non-violent marijuana offences should be able to access a simplified, free process … The wait time should be set at three years for summary offences at the most,” it reads.

It’s not that easy, according to a criminal justice professor with Mount Royal University (MRU).

Read full article here.

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