A St. John’s criminal defence lawyer is sounding the alarm over a lack of clarity on what marijuana legalization will mean for the Canadian court system, following findings released Tuesday by the federal government’s task force.
“There is a tremendous body of information unknown,” Bob Simmonds told CBC’s St. John’s Morning Show on Wednesday after reviewing the federal government’s report.
“A lot of unknown, a lot of uncertainty out there. That’s not good for the law.”
Simmonds said the effects of marijuana, allowable THC limits for driving, roadside testing devices, a possible correlation between car crashes and THC levels and distribution of the drug are all major issues that are too vague right now.
He’s also calling for clarity to avoid any legal limbo.
“If you’re charged with the commission of an offence and the penalty changes before you’re sentenced, you’re entitled to the lighter sentence,” he said, referencing the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“Lawyers are going to present that as hey, the sentence should now be reflective of society’s attitude.”
Simmonds said that may sound like an easy update for simple marijuana possession charges, but the change will “also filter through all the other offences … importation of it, distribution of it, legal production of it.”