October 17, 2018, recreational marijuana became legal in Canada, but what does that mean in terms of laws and pardon legislation? This insight has been written to help individuals better understand all the nuances of recent recreational cannabis legislation.
The federal government created the Cannabis Act, which creates a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis across Canada. The Act specifically aims to accomplish 3 goals:
- keep cannabis out of the hands of youth
- keep profits out of the pockets of criminals
- protect public health and safety by allowing adults access to legal cannabis
As of last fall when legalization came to fruition, anyone 18 years or older are legally able to possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis, dried or equivalent in non-dried form in public. You can also share up to 30 grams with other individuals of legal age. Purchasing dry, or fresh cannabis or cannabis oil is allowed from a licensed retailer. Some provinces and territories have yet to establish a fully functioning regulated framework so online purchasing of cannabis is also legal.
Consider yourself a green thumb and are looking to cultivate your own plants? Well, you are in luck. The government has legislated that you are allowed to grow, from licensed seeds or seedlings up to 4 cannabis plants for personal use, per residence. Making your own cannabis products at home is also legal as long as organic solvents aren’t used to create a more concentrated product.
As for those of you more interested in edibles…the jury is still out. According to the Cannabis Act, initially it was agreed that edibles and concentrates would be legal and for sale approximately one year after legalization. Some argue edibles could be dangerous especially in terms of children. How does a child determine the difference between a candy gummy and cannabis gummy? Producers of edibles are working hard to find ways to make their potential products unappealing to children. We’ve even heard stories of companies trying to create gummies with a sweet taste, but unappealing appearance.
As for those of you who have a criminal record surrounding a low-level cannabis conviction, Members of Parliament have suggested several potential solutions from pardoning to expunging low-level cannabis records. Again, prospective legislation has been put forward, but no decision has yet been made. For example, Bill C-93 offers free record suspensions / pardons for individuals with low-level offenses, but many Canadians insist a record suspension isn’t enough and are asking for expungement.
A record suspension removes your record from the CPIC database (Canadian Police Information Centre). Individuals would be able to apply for better housing and better employment, but if you were to break the law again, your record would be reinstated. A record suspension opens up many more opportunities for you in Canada, but it is important to note that you cannot travel to the US with a record suspension. In order to safely travel to the US, you would need a US Entry Waiver.
Expungement would mean your record is completely cleared. Many argue because low-level recreational cannabis is legal, a previous conviction should no longer exist in any form, allowing you more freedoms than a record suspension. Unfortunately, no decisions have been made which leave many of you in limbo. We hope the Canadian Government soon makes a move to free those of you with an existing low-level cannabis offense. In the meantime, stay tuned for the latest news regarding further cannabis legislation.
For more information, as to how to clear your record and start fresh, contact us. We are here to help you as you maneuver the intricacies of starting fresh and moving on with your life. At AllCleared, we believe everyone deserves a second chance. Start fresh, today.