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October 3rd, 2018

NDP to Table Amnesty Bill on Past Pot Possessions

OTTAWA – With just two weeks until the use of cannabis is legalized in Canada, too many people with criminal records for simple possession still face real hardships that affect their job opportunities, their ability to travel, and as a result, their livelihood. NDP Justice Critic Murray Rankin will table a ground-breaking Bill that would immediately expunge these simple possession records for all Canadians.

“Too many good people face unnecessary barriers and hardships for simple possession of cannabis, from difficulty finding a job, renting an apartment, to not being allowed to volunteer on a child’s soccer team,” said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. “These barriers are felt even more by marginalized communities, including Black Canadians and Indigenous Peoples, who are 3 to 9 times more likely to be arrested for pot possession. All this while many other members of society are less likely to even get charged, and are far more likely to be able to make those charges go away.”

So far, the Liberals have put forward no plan to help Canadians convicted of something which will no longer be a crime after October 17. No one should continue to suffer the negative impacts of outdated legislation. Under current rules, Canadians must wait 5 to 10 years and must pay over $600 just to apply for a pardon which does not make their record disappear. Convictions for trafficking and other drug-related crimes that remain illegal will not be affected by Rankin’s Bill.

“Simply put, Canadians shouldn’t be punished for what will soon be a completely legal activity,” added Rankin. “I hope to see the Liberals support this common-sense legislation.”