The annual Uniform Crime Reporting Survey found that there were as many as 13,768 arrests for cannabis possession in Canada last year, down from 17,720 in 2016 and 25,819 back in 2013.
It would seem that, on average, Canadians got in less trouble when it comes to weed last year than in the 20 years before that, setting yet another record-low in cannabis-related crimes this year.
However, this is not true for all places in Canada, as some provinces such as Quebec are still heavily enforcing the prohibitionist laws even though sales of cannabis for personal use are set to start in October.
Amnesty for past convictions?
Most Canadians still need a lot of education on cannabis and cannabis-related happenings, as many still don’t even know how to get a medical marijuana card.
There is still a huge number of Canadians spending time in jails and prisons on nothing more than simple possession charges, and this simply needs to change.
Those that spent time in one of these institutions will also likely have their past crimes deleted from the record if the federal government decides to go with a “blanket amnesty”, which is a term for total amnesty.
However, there are several significant hurdles in implementing a blanket amnesty, one of those being the registering system for offenses including drugs.
This system doesn’t register which drug was found on the person at the time of his arrest, making it a bit harder to delete just cannabis-related crimes from the past.
State governments in the United States have done so following their own legalization, and it turned out to be alright for them.
The federal government hasn’t made any announcements in regards to the type of amnesty, just that they won’t enact any type of amnesty until October.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, way back in January, that Canada’s current system criminalizing Canadians who perhaps shouldn’t be just for smoking or having weed on themselves.
Scott Bardsley, who works at the Office of the Minister of Public Safety Canada said that the government intends to take its time in order to make this change in an orderly and coherent way.
“In the meantime, the existing law remains in place. We’re working assiduously to get the job done,” Bardsley said.
More than a year ago, in May of 2017, The Globe and Mail newspaper conducted a survey asking their visitors whether they support the amnesty for those convicted of crimes related to cannabis and 62% of the respondents were in favor of the amnesty.
Until October, no matter what type of amnesty gets introduced by the government, a person convicted of possessing up to 30 grams of cannabis can apply to the Parole Board of Canada for a criminal record suspension five years after completing his or her sentence.