Elimination of criminal records for cannabis possession in Canada


Persons convicted of possession of small amounts of cannabis may request pardon and withdrawal of criminal records at no cost

With the legalization of marijuana in Canada, many people wanted to know what would happen to the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have a criminal record for possession of marijuana or any other crime related to the plant.

From August 1, those people who were convicted of possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis in Canada before legalization can request to request the pardon and the final withdrawal of the criminal record without paying the 650 dollars that until now demanded the law. In addition to paying this figure, the process was very long. The measure will make it much easier for these people to work, access scholarships, traveling to certain countries and actively participate in their communities.

The Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada, the Honorable David Lametti, on behalf of the Minister of Public Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Honorable Ralph Goodale, announced the entry into force of a Law to provide suspension of convictions and criminal records without cost for the crime of possession of small amounts of cannabis.

Although cannabis for recreational use was legalized in Canada, the law was not applied retroactively, probably because there has not yet been enough time to create the necessary legal framework to contemplate all cannabis-related cases before the month of October 2018.

People convicted of simply possessing 30 grams or less of cannabis can now request pardon from the Board of Probation of Canada through a very simple process in which the fees of 631 Canadian dollars and the exasperating times are eliminated Waiting associated with other pardon requests. Applicants may request it even if they have pending fines or surcharges associated with their conviction.

In order to help applicants, the Parole Board Canada (PBC) organization has made available to anyone who wants to find out a guide and application forms for criminal record suspension that is very simple and with step-by-step instructions, as well as a free information telephone line and an email address to answer any questions or concerns that the interested party may have. PBC is working with legal experts, including police, courts, community organizations and criminal justice professionals to take full advantage of this new situation.

The Canadian government forgives those with a record of possession of 30 grams of cannabis or less since Canada became the second largest country in the world with a national legal marijuana market. For this reason, a federal official announced the new measure that will undoubtedly be a great relief to the lives of many thousands of people.

Having a criminal record for possession of marijuana is a real problem for a person’s life. Especially, when it comes to traveling to the United States.

Because the entry to the U.S. will be denied to anyone with a criminal record for marijuana, no matter how small the amount is or how long it has been since the crime was committed. Americans have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to marijuana and since it is legal in Canada, they are even stricter. Once a person has been denied entry to the U.S. for any drug-related crime, the process of trying to enter the country can take more than 12 months and can be very expensive and complicated.

In Canada there are around 500,000 people with convictions for possession of cannabis, which means they cannot travel to the United States and have no job opportunities. The cost of enforcing laws against cannabis possession in Canada has been tremendous and billions of dollars have been spent each year.

When these Canadians have obtained the withdrawal of criminal records and, provided they have never been denied entry into the United States in the past, they can already be sure to travel without worrying about being denied entry due to their forgiven crime of possession of marijuana.

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