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.”
This recent poll further strengthens previous research done on the topic of cannabis possession and criminality, including a report from the C.D. Howe Institute in Canada. Their presentation cited that significant government resources will be freed up if Trudeau’s Liberals drop charges from those arrested for simple possession.
Possession charges are not in the small numbers either. Police reported that in 2015, there were 49,000 people charged with cannabis possession offenses. That’s a baseball stadium full of people who will now have significant challenges with future employment, travel, and a host of other rights and freedoms that Canadians enjoy.
The same Nanos poll also found that 8 percent of the country will become new marijuana users once it becomes legal. As well, 12 percent of Canadians say that their current cannabis usage will not increase when legalization is enacted.
This poll also gave Health Canada some respect from Canadians, as 61 percent of those polled have confidence in the government agency’s ability to test the safety and potency of legal pot. On the other side, 35 percent had their doubts.
Although the federal government has made no concrete plans to erase pot convictions, the justice system in Canada is questioning the incentive for going ahead with those currently awaiting trial for possession as well. This could lead to a decrease in convictions moving forward towards the endgame of legal adult-use marijuana across the country.