With less than two weeks to go before recreational use of marijuana becomes legal in Canada, Victoria MP Murray Rankin is calling on the federal government to allow Canadians with some pot-related convictions to have a clean slate.
On Thursday, Rankin tabled a private members bill that would expunge the criminal records of Canadians convicted of carrying less than 30 grams of marijuana for personal use.
I have officially tabled my private member's bill, C-415, An Act to establish a procedure for expunging certain cannabis-related convictions. This is a bill about righting past wrongs and it will help hundreds of thousands of Canadians get on with their lives. pic.twitter.com/0Bg5cvrXQV
— Murray Rankin MP (@MurrayRankin) October 4, 2018
That is the amount that becomes legal Oct. 17 for personal, non-violent cannabis use and Rankin said the bill is about righting past wrongs.
“Over 500,000 Canadians have a criminal record for cannabis possessions. That’s 500,000 Canadians who may be barred from finding employment, from volunteering in their communities, from finding a place to rent, all for the non-violent action that will soon be perfectly legal,” Rankin told the House of Commons.
In June, Rankin said he pushed the federal government to make expunging the records of people with possession convictions part of Bill C-45.
When that didn’t happen, he drafted a private member’s bill that he introduced today.
Rankin said he had people coming into his office all the time who, due to a pot conviction, can’t coach their kid’s sports team, get a job or find a place to rent.
The Victoria MP also pointed out some Canadians have not treated equally under Canada’s cannabis laws.
“In Toronto, black people without a criminal record were three times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than white people. In Halifax, five times as likely. In Regina, it’s nine times more often for Indigenous people,” Rankin said.
If the bill passes, Rankin hopes expunging records will take away the time, and cost, needed for Canadians to have convictions pardoned.
The application for a pardon currently includes a wait of five to 10 years and Canadians have to pay more than $630.