Article by Dylan Robertson, The Leaf News
Hundreds of Manitobans will soon be eligible for pardons over minor cannabis charges, but they’ll have to serve their full sentence, and could still be blocked from crossing into the United States.
On Wednesday, federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told reporters he intends to table legislation by the end of 2018 that would waive the five-year probation period and $631 fee required to apply for a pardon for the offence of simple possession under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
“This will eliminate what are disproportionate consequences, and break down barriers, which could mean greater access to job opportunities and education, housing, and even the ability to simply volunteer for a charity in your local community,” the Liberal MP said.
Statistics Canada doesn’t hold data on how many living Canadians have criminal records for simple possession of cannabis, but the agency does report 288 Manitobans faced that charge in 2017, of which 110 were Winnipeggers. Both figures have gradually dropped each year since 2013, when 609 Manitobans were charged, of which 246 were Winnipeggers.
Until Wednesday, possessing up to 30 grams of marijuana was illegal, netting a fine of up to $1,000, or six months in jail, or both.