Canada is well on its way to becoming one of the world’s leaders in cannabis policy, with a Prime Minister-backed full-scale legalization bill looking to end prohibition by next summer. In the meantime though, Canadian cops are still making possession arrests and raiding dispensaries. And while citizens in the Great White North are understandably excited about the prospect of legal weed, they are not pleased with the continued cannabis enforcement.
According to a new survey from The Globe and Mail and Nanos Research, 62% of Canadians support or somewhat support pardoning everyone with a cannabis possession charge on their record. Compare that to the 35% of respondents who don’t support the criminal record expunging and it’s pretty clear where Canadians stand on the subject.
Trudeau’s legalization plan has been widely heralded for its progressiveness, but the plan fails to specify what will happen to those currently imprisoned for cannabis crimes as well as people who carry the scarlet letter of a possession charge on their criminal record. However, Trudeau did make slight mention of the impending dilemma during a roundtable discussion with Vice Canada, but made no promises.
“We’ll take steps to look at what we can do for those folks who have criminal records for something that would no longer be criminal,” Mr. Trudeau said.
Despite the country’s liberal views on marijuana, Canadian police officers made 49,000 arrests for cannabis possession in 2015. That number will presumably plummet if legalization passes next year, but until Trudeau and the Canadian government listen to their constituents and take current and former cannabis crimes off the books, the wounds of prohibition will still be open, no matter how many pot shops open in downtown Toronto.