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June 12th, 2016

NDP: Decriminalize marijuana now

New Democrats will put decriminalization to a vote to urge the government to stop handing out criminal records for personal use of marijuana.

Today, the NDP announced that it will put the issue of marijuana decriminalization to a vote in Parliament as an opposition day motion in the coming days. Despite Justin Trudeau's clear campaign promise to immediately fix marijuana laws in Canada, the government has done nothing for 8 months except continue the senseless practice of handing out criminal records for personal use.

"Canadians thought they were voting for a Liberal government that would act quickly to stop arresting people and giving them criminal records for marijuana possession," said NDP Justice Critic Murray Rankin. "But instead we see a government that has failed to move on this issue and worse, has encouraged law enforcement to continue cracking down, further wasting resources and bringing greater confusion to the legal system."

This year, as many as 60,000 Canadians will be arrested for simple possession of marijuana and 22,000 will end up with criminal records. Recently, Former Liberal Prime Minster Jean Chrétien has said the government should move on decriminalization and even the Conservative Party of Canada has modernized its approach to marijuana laws, calling on the government to remove possession from the criminal code.

"The majority of the convictions for pot possession involve young Canadians, who should not be burdened with criminal records for the rest of their lives especially when the government plans to legalize marijuana at some point in the future," said NDP Youth Critic Anne Minh-Thu Quach. "The Liberals should take a clear first step and immediately decriminalize the possession of marijuana."