MP Murray Rankin to introduce bill to expunge criminal records of those convicted of cannabis-related crimes

Today, federal legislation to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana, known as Bill C-45, received Royal Assent. The Liberals announced that Canadians will be able to consume cannabis recreationally without criminal penalties beginning October 17, 2018, something the NDP has been pushing for the past decade. However, those who have been convicted of simple marijuana-possession offences will maintain a criminal record.

MP Murray Rankin is working towards introducing a private member’s bill to expunge criminal records of those convicted of cannabis-related crimes.  Rankin intends to introduce the bill in Parliament immediately once Bill C-45 comes into force.

“It’s outrageous that upstanding citizens are having a difficult time finding employment, attaining suitable housing, and traveling because they have a record for possessing a substance that will be perfectly legal in a few months,” said Rankin.

As early as December 2015, MP Rankin called on the government to “recognize the contradiction of continuing to give Canadians criminal record for simple possession of marijuana after the government has stated that it should not be a crime.” The NDP also attempted to amend the government’s legislation at committee to include a clause to make it easier for Canadians to apply for pardons, but this amendment was defeated by Liberal members of the committee.

“It’s also important to note that these possession charges disproportionately affect marginalized members of our communities – especially Black Canadians and Indigenous Peoples,” said Rankin.

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