March 2, 2019 9:08 am
Updated: March 4, 2019 12:51 am

New legislation doesn’t go far enough to bury past convictions for pot possession: experts

WATCH: Vancouver is hosting its first major cannabis expo after the legalization of marijuana. John Hua reports on what's changed since the laws changed, and why the industry says it will be some time before the still-thriving black market is eliminated.

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Experts are saying new federal cannabis legislation doesn’t go far enough in burying past convictions for simple possession of pot.

The legislation would make it quicker and cheaper to get a pardon but critics say it won’t be enough to right decades of problems caused by cannabis criminalization.

WATCH: Global News coverage of debate around pot possession convictions (2018) 

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says his new bill will waive the 631-dollar application fee and remove the usual five-year waiting period after a conviction before an application will be accepted.

A successful application seals a criminal record away, as long as the person convicted isn’t charged with any other criminal offences.

READ MORE: Liberals’ pot amnesty would be easy for a new government to reverse, expert warns

But a University of Toronto sociologist says completely expunging cannabis-possession records, which means destroying them entirely, is the only way for the government to recognize injustices.

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah says struggles with finding housing and employment are among the problems that people convicted of drug possession have to grapple with.

It’s a view shared by Toronto lawyer Annamaria Enenajor, who’s made expunging cannabis-possession records a cause.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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