Canada is doing it right.
Recreational marijuana shops in Canada were allowed to legally open their doors for business this week. Thanks to The Cannabis Act that was orchestrated in part by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada has just become the second country in the world to legalize marijuana through legislation. Although pot smokers across the country are celebrating the historic achievement, others are skeptical. There are thousands of Canadians who currently have minor pot possession charges on their record, which has affected them in many ways. Now, according to Vice News, the Canadian government has announced plans to pardon those charges.
“We will be proposing another new law to make things fairer for Canadians who have been previously convicted of simple possession of cannabis,” federal public safety minister Ralph Goodale stated to reporters during a press conference. “Removing the stigma of a criminal record for people who have served their sentence, and then shown themselves to be law-abiding citizens enhancing public safety for all Canadians.” A pardon is simply that, a pardon, and does not fully expunge the record. According to the Canadian non-profit Campaign for Cannabis Advocacy, roughly 500,000 Canadians currently have criminal records for simple pot possession. The proposed law will allow Canadians to be exempt from the government’s $631 pardon fee, and will also expedite the process.