COMMENTARY: It may be too late for Canada to keep a promise on pardons for pot crimes

Published in the Global News on May 18, 2019

Canada’s federal government is currently working to pass a bill that would provide pardons for people convicted of minor cannabis possession. With a federal election around the corner, it may be too little, too late.

As a result of mounting pressure, Canada’s federal government is now struggling to pass this bill before politicians leave the capital for the summer break.

If the bill does not pass, it is unlikely to do so before a national election this fall, leaving tens of thousands of lives hanging in the balance.

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SECU Submissions



  1. PREFACE: The Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty (hereafter “the Campaign”) is an independent, not-for-profit advocacy group focused on righting historical wrongs caused by decades of cannabis prohibition. It was founded in April 2018 in response to the absence of federal legislation addressing the stigma of previous convictions for offences that would no longer be illegal under the Cannabis Act. Since then, the Campaign has been calling on the government to enact legislation to delete criminal records relating to the simple possession of cannabis. We believe that no Canadian should be burdened with a criminal record for minor, non-violent acts that are no longer crimes.

  2. INTRODUCTION: For almost 95 years, the criminalization of simple cannabis possession has resulted in the imposition of unreasonably harsh penalties on hundreds of thousands of Canadians. It is estimated that as many as 500,000 Canadians currently have a criminal record for simple cannabis possession.1 These records interfere with their ability to travel, find meaningful employment, and volunteer in their communities. To make matters worse, decades of unequal enforcement of cannabis possession offences has disproportionately affected racialized, low-income and Indigenous Canadians.

The Campaign supports the implementation of measures to remove the stigma of past cannabis convictions that disproportionately impact marginalized people. As it is currently drafted, however, Bill C-93, does not go far enough. We offer the following observations and modest recommendations on this proposed legislation.


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'Pardon truck' rolls across Canada, calling for cannabis crime expungement

Published on Yahoo News on March 31, 2019

Parked on a busy corner is what looks like a food truck.

Instead of selling poutine or perogies, the people inside are trying to sell the idea of the complete expungement of criminal records for people convicted of cannabis possession.

Campaign to erase simple cannabis convictions rolls into Calgary

Published in the Calgary Sun on March 30, 2019

A cross-country tour aimed at gathering support for the permanent deletion of simple cannabis convictions made a stop in Calgary Saturday.

Doja and the Cannabis Amnesty campaign are calling for expungement for people with a simple possession of marijuana conviction.

Fair Trade and Fair Treatment: Cannabis Amnesty Law

Published in the Harvest Investor on January 22, 2019

The Canadian Government made history in October last year after the legalization of cannabis. The plant has been a topic of huge debates because of its previous illegal state. However, with time and research, a strong case has been made for its beneficial attributes. The Cannabis Act is one of the hallmarks of the change in the perception of cannabis. However, there is more to the issue than just making it legal.


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Canadian Cannabis Moments We’re Looking Forward to in 2019

Published in Leafly on December 28, 2018

It’s hard to believe that legalization was just a few months ago. And, while the rollout of cannabis legalization in Canada has been nothing short of a rocky, there are a bunch of exciting developments on the horizon.

The future of cannabis in Canada is looking bright. Here are 7 key cannabis moments that we’re looking forward to in 2019.

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Cannabis Amnesty founder pushing for change - and facts - around pardons for possession

Published in the Globe and Mail December 2, 2018

Annamaria Enenajor has got a fact-check for Canadians: The federal government is not pardoning people who have criminal records for cannabis possession.

Widespread use of the word “pardon” in news stories about the Liberals’ approach to dealing with possession records is misleading. First of all, the term “pardon” isn’t officially used in the Canadian justice system.

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Will the Prime Minister’s pot pardon plans have a snowball effect?

Published in the Growth Op on November 16, 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposal to pardon minor cannabis possession convictions might be a step in the right direction, but a number of advocates and experts say it simply doesn’t go far enough.

“Why aren’t we passing laws to wipe those records, instead of just giving people these pardons?” asks John Conroy, an attorney who received Lift & Co.’s Canadian Cannabis Crusader award in 2014. Conroy says it will take more than pardons to dull prohibition’s sting on the 500,000-plus Canadians living with criminal records for minor possession charges alone—they need amnesty.

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She’s a brilliant, young legal mind. And her mission is to expunge the cannabis convictions of half a million Canadians

Published in the Toronto Star on November 15, 2018

She was an intensely driven straight-A student; a church-once-a-week, confession-once-a-month Catholic teen who never used drugs and considered becoming a nun. Even as an adult, she rarely drinks and dabbled in marijuana only twice, calling the experiments a disaster.

A high comes from chanting at a yoga retreat.

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Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty is an Open Democracy Project Civic Campaign Accelerator participant. Website by DemocracyKit, created with NationBuilder.