"Canada is transitioning into cannabis being a legal product. By changing the law, the government is admitting the war on cannabis was a failed experiment, In trying to control moral judgement with criminal law. The real victims of prohibition, the people arrested and jailed for its crimes, deserve not only an apology but also a relief from the burden set upon them, the label of being a criminal. Legalization requires amnesty."
"Cannabis amnesty is essential to restore balance to disproportionately enforced drug laws on marginalized communities and especially communities of colour. We have all come to terms with historic cannabis law being irrational, and restoring those communities most harshly affected is a critical goal of legalization."
Melissa Lantsman, VP Public Affairs, Hill + Knowlton Strategies. War Room Director and Campaign Spokesperson to Doug Ford
“As a lifelong Conservative, I support NDP member’s Murray Rankin's private member's bill and urge the Liberal government to adopt this bill as government legislation. We need to help the over half million affected Canadians get their life back on track, without the burden of a criminal record for minor possession holding them back — we need to focus on violent and dangerous criminals.”
“As a Liberal who has worked at the highest levels of the Party both federally and at Queen's Park, I urge the federal government to adopt Murray Rankin's private member's bill as government legislation. As we approach October 17th it's important to recognize that racialized and indigenous communities are overrepresented amongst those incarcerated for simple cannabis possession in this country. It's time to address this injustice.”
It was 49 years ago that Canada began the process of legalizing marijuana by establishing an inquiry into the non-medical use of drugs. It recommended ending convictions for possession or for growing marijuana for personal use. One commissionaire went further and recommended legal distribution. Just before the inquiry began, I established The Legalize Marijuana Committee to lobby the government for saner laws and met with the Minister of Health and Welfare and then was the second witness at the commission hearings. The Commissions' recommendations never happened and since then tens of thousands of people have been convicted for what should no longer have been a crime. Two of the purposes of our 1969 campaign were to stop convictions for the inoffensive private use of marijuana and to stop the police from infiltrating and entrapping primarily young people who were losing faith in the law. To restore some faith in justice among the tens of thousands of people convicted the decent thing to do would be an amnesty. That is long overdue.
- Gordon Brown
Amnesty for simple possession of cannabis is the next logical step in the legalization movement in Canada
Amnesty for non-violent cannabis offences is a direct and fair way to improve the well-being of the thousands of Canadians who have been harmed by decades of bad policies. It's also an important step in healing the injuries caused by the war on cannabis.
Chuck Rifici, Chairman and CEO, Auxly Cannabis Group, Founder and CEO, Nesta Holding Co., Chairman of National Access Cannabis
As a former British Columbia Health Minister I am an ardent supporter of policies that improve public health, including the legalization of a well regulated cannabis industry. Marginalized and racialized groups have been disproportionately affected by the enforcement of drug prohibition, and many cannabis law reform advocates have been criminalized for activism that paved the way for our legal cannabis industry. Having a criminal record is associated with a range of health and social vulnerabilities that can lead to poorer long-term health. Pardoning those with criminal records for simple possession of cannabis is good public policy.
The opportunity to play sports is something no youth should have stripped from them. Yet data shows that minor possession charges have disproportionately affected minority youth, specifically African-Canadians and Indigenous youth, limiting opportunities for jobs, participation in sports, travel, and much more. Although this is not a statement supporting youth drug use, it is one meant to raise awareness of government legislation in regards to cannabis law: Criminal records for minor drug possession prohibits participation in sports for the youth who likely need it most. Cannabis amnesty will change the lives of our children, opening the door for inner city youth to participate in their sport of choice. I support a second chance for our youth. I support the Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty.
As a Hamilton City Councillor whose residents have been targeted, criminalized, and incarcerated for past cannabis related offences; and given the exclusive nature in which this government had provided access to legalization, cannabis licensing, and corporate profiteering, I am calling for full Amnesty for all people convicted of nonviolent Cannabis crimes, past and present, including those currently incarcerated.
Free Them All.
Hamilton City Councillor, Ward 3
“Without amnesty for non-violent cannabis offences, the entire concept of legalization continues to punish people for no good reason. “
The reason we regulate anything is to discourage uncivil behaviour, from littering to unscrupulous business practises; not to protect people from a plant; and certainly not to continue criminalizing and fining people for using that plant pretty much anywhere.
"Legalization without amnesty is oppressive monopolization"
- Ian Campeau, Deejay NDN
"Criminal records for petty cannabis offences continue to be a roadblock for already marginalized populations, and wiping them away should be looked at as the fair thing to do."
Mike Schreiner, Green Party Leader of Ontario
“The criminalization of cannabis is a longstanding injustice. Amnesty for possession is necessary to correct the injustice as best we can. It’s the right things to do, and we should act on it immediately.”
"Cannabis Amnesty is deeply important to me as a long-time cannabis activist. The primary reason to legalize cannabis is to end the numerous civil liberties violations and unjust criminalization harms related to prohibition policies. Cannabis-related criminal records prevent our fellow citizens from being treated equally regarding employment, housing, travel and even parenting. It's irrefutable that cannabis and drug prohibition laws have been used to disproportionately target and harm our most marginalized citizens, including black, brown, indigenous, poor and young Canadians.
The only legitimate form of cannabis legalization must include an acknowledgement of the discrimination and stigma that harms people criminalized for cannabis; an apology and amnesty for citizens with cannabis criminal records; and reparations for prohibition victims, to repair the damage caused by decades of costly, punitive prohibition law enforcement.
That is why I am devoted to calling for an arrest moratorium, cannabis amnesty, and retroactive removal of all non-violent cannabis criminal records, including for those who provide access to cannabis. Legalization is supposed to be about restoring justice. Without Cannabis Amnesty, there will be no justice. Cannabis Amnesty must be granted immediately to the hundreds of thousands of Canadians with cannabis-related criminal records."
– Jodie Emery