The federal public safety minister says the plan to legalize recreational marijuana does not include a general amnesty for past pot convictions.
Ralph Goodale tells The Canadian Press not to expect a blanket pardon for people with records for possessing small amounts of the drug.
The C.D. Howe Institute, a prominent think-tank, has recommended the government consider pardoning people convicted of pot possession — and drop any outstanding charges — to free up much-needed resources for legalization.
Goodale notes there is already a formal process to have a criminal record set aside.
Those convicted of simple possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana are eligible to apply for a pardon, now known as a record suspension, five years after their sentence is completed.
The federal government has introduced legislation to legalize and regulate the sale of recreational marijuana by July, 2018. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
An internal Public Safety Canada briefing note, released last year under the Access to Information Act, said the issue of record suspensions would be “important to consider during the marijuana legalization discussions.”