Q&A: Criminal lawyer Annamaria Enenajor on what will happen when pot becomes legal

Published on Toronto Life on June 20, 2018

You’re a passionate advocate of amnesty for Canadians with cannabis convictions. Do you think that everyone serving time for pot should earn a get out of jail card? 
There won’t be some mass jail exodus. Most convictions for possession don’t entail jail time anyway. We’re seeking an official pardon and an expungement of records, which means one’s name would no longer come up in criminal record searches or background checks.

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Without amnesty for pot convictions, legalization is a half-measure

Published in the Toronto Star on June 3, 2018

The deadline to legalize marijuana may have been pushed back, but establishing an amnesty for pot convictions remains urgent.

Marijuana legalization has had a winding road. After 14 months of debate and discussion, Bill C-45 goes before the Senate on Thursday for a final vote; if all goes well, it goes back to the House Commons before receiving royal assent.

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Feds hint at amnesty on marijuana charges, but not until after legalization

Published in NOW Toronto on May 18, 2018

There’s an uncomfortable truth to reckon with when it comes to cannabis legalization in Canada – for people of colour the damage of prohibition has already been done.

In Toronto, for example, Black men are three times more likely to be charged with simple possession of marijuana than white men. What’s needed now, say lawyers and academics who’ve recently launched the Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty, is an amendment to Bill C-45 that will grant pardons to those who have been arrested for simple possession.

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Where is amnesty in the federal government's plan to legalize cannabis?

Published on on May 17, 2018

Toronto lawyer Annamaria Enenajor has launched a campaign urging the government to "right history's wrongs" by expunging personal possession charges

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Can Canada undo 'injustice' of cannabis possession convictions?

Published in Al Jazeera on May 10, 2018

Montreal, Canada - Annamaria Enenajor says it's about righting a wrong.

The Toronto-based lawyer is among a group of other professionals and activists leading a campaign to get the Canadian government to grant amnesty to those with simple cannabis possession convictions on their records.

With Canada planning to legalise recreational marijuana by July 1, amnesty would address an "historic injustice" that has affected hundreds of thousands of people across the country, Enenajor said.

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Canada plans to legalize weed – but will those convicted of crimes get amnesty?

Published in the Guardian on May 8, 2018 

Activists argue that without amnesty, many from marginalized communities will continue to feel the effects of outdated laws

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New campaign calls for marijuana possession convictions to go up in smoke

Published by CBC on May 5, 2018

A group of Toronto lawyers, activists and entrepreneurs launched a petition Friday calling on the federal government to grant amnesty to people convicted of simple cannabis possession charges.

"If the federal government is going to legalize cannabis, then it doesn't make any sense for these convictions to stay on people's records," said criminal defence lawyer Annamaria Enenajor, the director of the Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty.

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Global Marijuana March calls for pot possession pardons, level playing field for entrepreneurs

Published in the CBC on May 5, 2018

With pot on the verge of being legalized, dozens of marijuana entrepreneurs gathered in Queen's Park on Saturday to demand a level playing field for all in the industry.

Saturday's Global Marijuana March was also aimed at persuading the government to pass an amnesty bill that would provide for pardons for those with criminal records related to pot possession offences.

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Cannabis Legalization and the Need for Amnesty

Research and analysis conducted by Prof. Owusu-Bempah & Alex Luscombe

The legalization of cannabis is a move forward for our country and sends a positive message to the rest of the world about a changing tide in the global war on drugs. Our current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, rose to power in 2015 with legalization as a key feature of his election campaign. Having personally admitted to smoking cannabis while sitting as an MP, Trudeau’s messaging clearly resonated amongst a Canadian population with its own fondness for the drug; 1 in 10 Canadians aged fifteen and over admitted to using cannabis in 2012.

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In the News

Read all about it! Coast-to-coast coverage of cannabis amnesty.

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