The Racist History Behind Canada's Marijuana Prohibition

Published in the Huffington Post on November 2, 2018

Canada's recent legalization of marijuana has spurred some heated debates, but one topic many Canadians aren't talking about is the country's dark history of prohibition.

In her book Jailed for Possession, Catherine Carstairs, chair of the history department at the University of Guelph, details the history of illegal drugs in Canada, beginning with a set of policies that demonized ethnic minority communities, especially Chinese immigrants.

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Canada's cannabis advocates turn to pardons as the new front in the struggle for equitable drug policy

Published in the Georgia Straight on October 31, 2018

With cannabis legalized, Canada’s conversation around drug-policy reform has turned to pardons.

“That’s something that we’ll be looking into as we move forward,” Justin Trudeau told the Georgia Straight in August 2015, when he was still a candidate for prime minister. “There has been many situations over history when laws come in that overturn previous convictions and there will be a process for that that we will set up in a responsible way.”

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Pardons don't go far enough. Convictions for cannabis possession must be expunged

Published in CBC on October 29, 2018

In 2013, Justin Trudeau – then leader of the third-place party – admitted to having smoked cannabis about a half-dozen times. He was unapologetic. He noted that the most recent occasion was during a dinner party at his Montreal home — well after his election to Parliament. Two years later, he became prime minister.

Not all Canadians have had the privilege of using cannabis without consequence.

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Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty on Aurora Cannabis Inc (TSE:ACB) Support

Watch the Midas Letter Live interview

Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty Director Annamaria Enenajor indicates there is a growing government support for pardoning Canadians with cannabis possession convictions. There are approximately 500,000 Canadians with cannabis convictions on their records and those with cannabis convictions are disproportionately from racialized and Indigenous communities. The Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty has been working closely with MP Murray Rankin, who tabled a bill at the beginning of October to expunge the criminal records of those with minor cannabis convictions that are no longer considered illegal under Bill C-45. Enenajor emphasizes the importance of the financial and strategic role Aurora Cannabis Inc (TSE:ACB) (OTCMKTS:ACBFF) (FRA:21P) has played in the campaign. Enenajor shares details of the partnership between Cannabis Amnesty and British Columbia-based LP Doja Cannabis Co to launch Pardon, a cannabis education and advocacy brand, with proceeds going to Cannabis Amnesty.

Canada Will Expedite Record Sealing for People Convicted of Marijuana Crimes That Are No Longer Crimes

Published in on October 18, 2018

Now that marijuana is legal in Canada, the national government is confronting the question of how to deal with half a million citizens who were convicted of crimes that are no longer crimes. Yesterday Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced plans to expedite the sealing of criminal records for people convicted of simple marijuana possession.

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Cannabis is legal. Now about those pardons for pot possession?

Published in Macleans on October 17, 2018

There has been something profoundly bewildering—surreal even—about the “Wait. Wait. Wait…okay, now it’s fine” nature of Canada’s shift to legalized marijuana. It was more than three years after Justin Trudeau—then leader of the Liberal Party campaigning to become prime minister—committed to doing so that his government passed C-45, the Cannabis Act, legalizing the drug in Canada as of today.

Literally overnight, pot went from being a verboten substance to being widely available from slick, fully licensed private retail outlets and government-run websites promising delivery by Canada Post carriers.

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Cannabis Amnesty welcomes Liberal government's promise of pardons, but says they require "four central features"

Published by the Georgia Straight on October 17, 2018

The half-million Canadians with criminal records for cannabis possession received some encouraging news today.

This morning, four Liberal cabinet ministers held a news conference to announce that the government is bringing in legislation to expedite pardons for those who were busted with amounts of 30 grams or less.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told reporters that the intention is to remove the stigma of criminal records for simple possession, which will make it easier for people to find housing, employment, and volunteer in their community.

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Campaign for cannabis amnesty

Watch the Breakfast Television Interview

With the legalization of cannabis, the federal government is now looking at an amnesty program for people charged with possession. Joining Roger is Stephanie DiGuiseppe, director of the campaign for cannabis amnesty to talk more about this news.

Canadians convicted of simple cannabis possession will soon be able to apply for a pardon

Published in the Globe & Mail on October 16, 2018

Canadians convicted of possessing under 30 grams of cannabis will soon be able to file a formal application for a pardon, federal officials say.

The government has also decided not to embark on a more complex process of clearing all criminal records proactively, according to the officials. Earlier this year, Ottawa did enact legislation to expunge the records of Canadian men who were criminally convicted when homosexual acts were a crime.


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Get to Know the Speaker – Part 1: Akwasi Owusu-Bempah

Posted by TEDxToronto on October 16, 2018

Over the past 10 years, TEDxToronto has been proud to host some of the most innovative, intellectual and inspiring individuals, all sharing their expertise on a wide range of topics. With this year’s theme, IDENTITY, we decided to give everyone an inside look into some of the upcoming TEDxToronto 2018 speakers.

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