Concurrently with the legalization of recreational cannabis, the Canadian government has announced its plan to issue pardons to individuals with past convictions for possession of cannabis. Possession offenses were previously punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and up to 6 months in jail.
Canadians with past convictions of possessing 30 grams of cannabis or less can apply to be pardoned. Currently, applying for a pardon costs $631 and there is a waiting period of at least 3 years following the completion of the convicted individual’s sentence before they can apply for the pardon. Under the Trudeau government’s proposed plan, there will be no administrative fee or waiting period to apply for a pardon.
It is important to note that pardons do not legally erase the conviction from an individual’s criminal record. Therefore, any convictions that have been pardoned could still pose an issue for the pardoned individual if trying to cross the U.S. border.
Legislation effecting the proposed plan is intended to be tabled later this year.