Two constants have persisted throughout the push for marijuana legalization in Canada: excitement from Canadians welcoming the big day and criticism for how the federal government is handling the transition.
Case in point, the recent statements made by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Goodale stated that the government’s plan to legalize does not include a general amnesty for past marijuana-related convictions.
“That’s not an item that’s on the agenda at the moment,” said Goodale.
The minister added that although the government continues to move towards the national legalization of marijuana for adults, the substance will remain illegal until that day arrives. The decision to not allow amnesty has been unpopular with the cannabis community as well as members of the government.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) has again called for the government to immediately decriminalize simple possession in the interim. The NDP would like to ensure Canadians aren’t receiving life-long criminal records for something that’s expected to be legal next year.
The C.D. Howe Institute — a popular NGO in Canada — has also recommended the feds consider pardons to free up needed government resources for the justice system and law enforcement. The organization believes that “dropping charges against individuals for illegal possession who have no other Criminal Code convictions or charges, would save considerable government resources.”
Despite the criticism, Trudeau and his ministers have made it clear that they are doing things their way.