When the government was asked about their intention to offer pardons, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould responded by saying that she was working with the ministers of Health and Public Safety in order to establish the details surrounding legalization of cannabis within Canada.
“We will certainly look to have more to say about how we’re going to move forward… this includes actually having conversations… with different levels of government and ensuring we speak to Canadians who have been impacted,” said Wilson-Raybould.
It’s clear that they want to be thorough with their regulation implementation when it comes to the cannabis plant.
This level of time and effort that they are showing toward legalization, far surpasses that which they displayed when it came to pushing through controversial legislation like bill c-51.
Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd said that Trudeau’s government should look toward using its legislative powers in order to offer pardons to Canadians with simple cannabis related charges.
Unfortunately, the previous Conservative government made sure to overhaul the pardon system in a way that now makes it more expensive and rigorous to navigate through.
Currently, the Parole Board of Canada has been struggling with a backlog of thousands of pardon applications. Given the fact that cannabis related charges are often non-violent charges and victimless crimes, it’s understandable why someone would want to have that criminal label taken away from them so that it doesn’t infringe their ability to get a job, find a place to live, or generally carry-out and live their life.
Dana Larsen of Sensible B.C. Has also said that he would like to see Trudeau move forward with pardons, as well.
“Prohibition was not a well-intentioned failure but a terrible policy that caused a lot of harm,” Larsen said.
Ill-informed policies like cannabis criminalization do have the potential to ruin lives, even for those who once were in the position of enforcing and upholding the law for the rest of us.
Retired corporal Clayton Goodwin, who is part of an initiative called Veterans for the Use of Medical Marijuana, was such an individual.
“I wore a uniform for everyone,” he says. “[For] everyone’s freedom. That’s also the freedom to choose marijuana over pharmaceuticals.”
Goodwin began growing medical cannabis in order to treat his insomnia and stress, until 2008 when the police raided his home, found 22 immature plants, and he was then charged with possession of marijuana.
He ended-up pleading guilty, faced a $1500 fine, and one-year of probation along with drug counselling. He says that a pardon would offer him his life back and allow him to get out from under the thumb of stigmatization that comes along with having a criminal record.