Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale made the announcement at a press event in Ottawa this morning.
“It’s good public policy to remove roadblocks to the successful reintegration of previous offenders … It becomes a matter of basic fairness when older laws of a previous era area changed.”
Goodale says as long as the person has served their time, they will be able to apply for a pardon without a fee or wait time.
The new legislation will be aimed at people who have only been convicted of ‘simple possession.’
There are no plans to expunge records however, says Goodale.
He says that is generally reserved for cases of ‘profound historical injustice’ that need to be corrected, citing old convictions imposed on the LGBTQ community.
“The laws with respect to cannabis that have existed historically, we believe are out of step with current mores and views with Canada but are not of the same nature.”
Goodale adds that pardons can be done more quickly than expungement.
The federal government plans to table legislation in the coming weeks, saying they couldn’t do so until cannabis became legal at midnight.