Ottawa moves to pardon Canadians with simple pot possession convictions

A view of Flowr Corporation’s grow operations in Kelowna. On Wednesday, it becomes legal to consume cannabis in Canada. Global News

A senior Canadian official says the government will pardon those with a pot possession record of 30 grams or less.

The development comes as Canada legalizes so-called recreational marijuana beginning Wednesday.

The official said Tuesday that those convicted of possessing of 30 grams or less of marijuana will be eligible for a pardon, but they will have to apply for one.

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The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.

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The Canadian Press has learned the announcement on setting aside minor marijuana convictions of the past will come as the government ushers in a historic new era of legalized cannabis.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has faced pressure to address the pot pardon issue, including within his own caucus, due to the effect of possession charges on marginalized Canadians.

Until now, simple possession of marijuana has been punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail.

Individuals have been eligible to apply for a pardon through the Parole Board of Canada five years after the conviction is handed down.

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But the waiting period and the cost of applying for a pardon, known as a record suspension, have proven difficult for some people saddled with records.

–With files from the Associated Press. 

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