A recent poll reveals that a majority of Canadians support expungement of marijuana criminal records. It has certainly been interesting to follow the national trends in our northern neighbor Canada for cannabis legislation and overall public opinion about cannabis as we try to navigate this territory in the United States.
In our most recent coverage of Canadian cannabis policy, we reported on the unveiling of their plans to implement legalization via the Cannabis Act, which is an act that was introduced to Canadian Parliament in 2017 that would legalize cannabis in Canada. It is a milestone in the legal history of cannabis in Canada, alongside the 1923 prohibition. Should the Cannabis Act pass in Canadian Parliament, this country would become the second nation in the world, after Uruguay, to regulate a legal marijuana market. Along with legalization comes the conversation about how previous marijuana laws were enforced.
A recent report from Marijuana.com shows that (62%) a majority of Canadians support expungement of marijuana criminal records and that Canadians want amnesty for marijuana convictions.
A new Globe and Mail/Nanos Research poll has found that 62% of Canadians support pardons for those with criminal records stemming from marijuana possession.
This clear majority only amplifies the call from lawyers, activists, and other politicians who have been vocal about the issue for some time now. The collective argument for amnesty states that upholding old criminal records for what will be a legal product would be unjustified.
The closest the Canadian Prime Minister has come to acknowledging the idea of amnesty was in a recent interview with Vice News, where he stated the feds will “take steps to look at what we can do for those folks who have criminal records for something that would no longer be criminal.”
When cannabis legalization passed in Oregon in 2014, but before legalization took effect, some counties here suspended marijuana arrests/enforcement. I feel that’s what should happen in Canada as well. When legalization is inevitable, marijuana prohibition becomes even more absurd than it already is. Especially after seeing the results of this poll, the Canadian government needs to put pressure on law enforcement to not only quit arresting people for marijuana in Canada, but also to expunge any criminal records stemming from marijuana related crimes.