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Streamlined pardon process for marijuana possession convictions on the way

Last Updated Oct 18, 2018 at 6:32 am PDT

OTTAWA – The federal government promises it will soon be quicker — and free — to obtain a criminal pardon for simple pot possession convictions of the past.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says coming legislation will waive the waiting period and fee for those seeking a pardon for possession offences.

The Liberals have faced pressure to address the pot pardon issue, including within their own caucus, due to the effect of marijuana-related convictions on marginalized Canadians.

Until now, simple possession of up to 30 grams 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.

But the waiting period and the $631 cost of applying for a pardon, known as a record suspension, have proven difficult for some people saddled with records.