Article by Tiffany Gooch, Toronto Star
When the Trudeau government set out to deliver on its core campaign commitment to legalize cannabis, success was defined for many by legislation that did not impede on each province’s autonomy over responsible implementation.
The timeline was ambitious, and history was ultimately made on Oct. 17, 2018 with the passage of The Cannabis Act.
Throughout the process, I’d hoped to see more concrete, proactive plans toward the pardoning of Canadians who held records for simple cannabis possession. At minimum, it was essential to remove the $631 financial barrier that stood in the way of a record suspension.
The painstakingly careful approach taken by the Liberal government to avoid making commitments about amnesty at the beginning of its mandate was disappointing, to say the least.
It isn’t enough to simply adopt language conveying concern for racialized communities who are negatively and disproportionately impacted by prohibition. With 500,000 Canadians holding criminal records for cannabis possession, our government had a responsibility to act.
Following the passage of Bill C-45, the prime minister finally committed to move on expediting the processes and removing financial barriers. But there is room to be more aspirational.