Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Canada to pardon small possession convictions as it legalises marijuana

Published:Wednesday | October 17, 2018 | 3:21 PM
Matthew Macdougall smokes a joint during a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. Canada became the largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace as sales began early Wednesday in Newfoundland. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says Canada’s government will introduce legislation to let people apply for a pardon of small-scale marijuana possession convictions — as long as they’ve finished their sentence.

The announcement comes on the day that Canada has legalised so-called recreational marijuana.

Goodale says there will be no fees involved.

He says the initiative is about basic fairness.

A senior government official earlier told The Associated Press that those convicted of possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana would be eligible for a pardon.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.

The governing Liberal Party holds a majority in Parliament, so passage is largely assured.

 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government’s new pardon laws for simple pot possession will be of particular benefit to young minority people.

Trudeau says people in those demographics were disproportionately affected by marijuana possession convictions, and that the new rules should remove a barrier for them.

Trudeau also says he has no intention of using marijuana now that it became legal in Canada on Wednesday.

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