Fact Sheet: Marijuana legalization and pot pardons2018-10-01T21:52:07+00:00

Fact Sheet: Marijuana legalization and pot pardons


1923 – The year Canada first criminalized marijuana

2018 – The year Canada plans marijuana legalization for recreational purposes

Current law

30 grams of marijuana – Possession of this amount or less is simple possession and always considered a summary (minor) charge rather than indictable (more serious)

Five years – The amount of time that someone with a Summary charge must wait for a pardon (Record Suspension)

$631 – The fee to obtain a Record Suspension

Record Suspension – The name given to pardons by the previous Conservative government. In Canada, criminal records are not destroyed, they are moved to a different database and can be reinstated if a person re-offends.

56,000 – Estimated number of people arrested for cannabis possession since the current Liberal government took office

Who is involved?

Ralph Goodale – Public Safety Minister who says there are no plans to provide amnesty to those with possession records when Canada legalizes recreational marijuana in 2018.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – Without suggesting pardons, told Vice Canada that the government would “look at what we can do” for people with criminal records related to possession

Bill Blair – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and the leader of the task force on recreational marijuana legalization

Jodie Emery – Marijuana activist and co-owner (with her spouse Marc Emery) of Cannabis Culture who has called on the government to offer amnesty to those charged or convicted of marijuana-related offences retroactively

Dan SteinToronto lawyer who has told media that public pressure could cause the government to reverse its stance on pot pardons

Michael Lacy – Toronto-based lawyer and vice president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association who has told media that pardons could be made automatic with an amendment to the Criminal Records Act

Nathaniel Erskine-SmithLiberal Member of Parliament who went against his own government by arguing for decriminalization

Federal New Democratic Party – Has called on the Liberal government to decriminalize marijuana to prevent new criminal records.

C.D. Howe Institute – Has called on the Liberal government to issue pardons for those convicted of possession and drop any outstanding charges.

Anindya SenUniversity of Waterloo economics professor who authored the C.D. Howe report

Support for pot pardons

Public Safety Canada briefing note – One piece of evidence that pardons were at least considered under the planned legalization bill was a briefing note that was released through a Freedom of Information request. However, this did not make it into the legislation released in April 2017.

62 per cent – The number of Canadians polled by the Globe and Mail/Nanos Research who said they supported or somewhat supported pardons for people with marijuana possession convictions.

35 per cent – Number that said they were opposed

12 per cent – Number of Canadians who said they currently use marijuana

Eight per cent – Number of Canadians who said they would start using it after marijuana legalization

Planned marijuana legalization

The Cannabis Act, Bill C-45 – Contains no mention of marijuana pardons or amnesty

18 – Minimum age required to buy marijuana (Individual provinces may enact their own age requirements)

Four – Number of pot plants an individual can grow

30 grams – Amount of marijuana allowed to be carried or shared with another adult

Other Resources

Criminal Lawyers’ Association

Joint Venture: A Blueprint for Federal and Provincial Marijuana Policy by Anindya Sen, C.D. Howe Institute, April 20, 2016

A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis, The Final Report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, November 30, 2016


AllCleared has instrumental in raising awareness of the changes to pardon laws and the affect on ordinary Canadians. Contact us for background or opinions on this issue at 1-866-972-7366.