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Only 44 Canadians Have Been Given Cannabis Pardons Under New System - National

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As Canadians started to debate how — not if — cannabis would be legalized, a persistent question was: what about the hundreds of thousands of Canadians with prohibition-era convictions for possession?

In the end, the federal Liberals rejected a plan for records for possession to be expunged, or completely erased, in favour of a streamlined version of the pardon, or “record suspension,” process that’s available for other crimes, minus the waiting period and $631 fee.

About 250,000 Canadians are thought to have prohibition-era records for simple possession of marijuana, though because some people were charged under a generic drug possession offence rather than one specific to cannabis, it’s not clear how many there are. Also, those who have a record for other offences aren’t eligible for the program.

READ MORE: Liberals’ pot amnesty would be easy for a new government to reverse, expert warns

But more than a month after the federal government announced that the long-promised amnesty program was taking applications, only 44 pardons have been granted out of a total of 71 people who have applied.

“The balance of applications are either under investigation or may have been returned to the applicant as incomplete or ineligible,” Parole Board spokesperson Iulia Pescarus Popa wrote in an email.

The process is very cumbersome and bureaucratic, says Toronto lawyer Caryma Sa’d.

WATCH: Canadians previously charged with simple cannabis possession can now be pardoned

Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/5876201/cannabis-possession-pardons/

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