New Legalization Bill to Include Possession PardonsCanada is being recognized worldwide for its progressive legislations, especially with regards to the legalization of marijuana on a federal scale. The government has announced the legalization of marijuana for medicinal and recreational use in the near future. It is anticipated that in the summer of 2018, there will be new changes and laws implemented with regards to possession of marijuana. Specifically, there will no longer be any criminal offence or any kind of offence at all for the possession or use of marijuana. Similar to alcohol and cigarettes, marijuana will be another controlled substance that will be sold to individuals for responsible use. In this article, I will address the new legislation and the possibility of it including possession pardons for marijuana.
Current Criminal Offence for the Possession or Use of MarijuanaInterestingly enough, with the new changes to the legislation, individuals who use and are in possession of marijuana will not be convicted of any criminal offence going forward; however, individuals who have used and have possessed marijuana in the past were still criminally charged. Therefore, it brings up the question of what will happen in the future to those who have been criminally charged with the use or possession of marijuana. Would they still be considered a criminal or do the charges no longer apply? Currently, any individual who uses marijuana or is in possession of marijuana is still charged with a criminal offence. Consequently, they will also be arrested, fingerprinted, and tried in a court of law in order to determine whether the individual is guilty or innocent. Furthermore, if the individual is found guilty of the charges then they will have a criminal record. Unfortunately, individuals who obtain a criminal record from the use or possession of marijuana are negatively affected by this in their everyday lives. It can severely affect their careers and travels. For instance, should a prospect employer decide to conduct a background check before hiring this individual, they will sadly not receive the job due to their criminal offence. Another instance would be if this individual tries to travel outside of the country, Immigration will be able to see the criminal offence and they will be denied entry into the country.
Current Waiting PeriodsBecause of the new changes to the legislation, there will be a period of transitional problems for the legal and judicial system of Canada. Because there is a minimum time period that must pass before a person applies for a Record Suspension, certain conditions are required to be in affect during the same time. Therefore, the individual who has been charged and convicted with a crime must have the correct time served and no other arrests or conviction charged after it. Usually for cases of marijuana possession, the waiting period is approximately 5 years. This is as long as the minimal amounts were achieved and the charge is not possession of sufficient amounts of drug trafficking. It is important to address that for individuals who have completed their sentences and/or paid their fines by 2012, the 5 year time period will have passed by 2018 which is when the legalization comes into effect.
Transitional Problems that can ariseEssentially, the main question to ask is what happens to those people that are caught in this limbo of legalization or non-legalization? Evidently, the Canadian government is not addressing these concerns and has been mostly silent. In all fairness, it would not be entirely fair to keep someone in the legal system if their offences are no longer criminal charges going forward. However, the legal system is complex and it is very difficult to just erase several people from the system at a time because of legalization changes. In order to accurately and appropriately go forward with the changes, there will be many factors that need to be taken into consideration. For instance, the time, effort, and financial resources that will be required in order to resolve the problem. The Canadian government may decide that it may be more efficient and beneficial for people with marijuana possession charges to proceed with a Record Suspension initiative that may fast track their suspensions. This would be an initiative that can help several people with criminal offences for possession of marijuana but it would have to be implemented on a wide-scale. In contrast, there may be internal review of the legal system that can possibly show a small number of people who would be affected by the legalization change and just allow individuals who are interested in pursuing a Record Suspension to privately do so on their own time. For now, the government has not made any effort or announcement with regards to what they will choose to do going forward. Therefore, it is very important for individuals who may potentially be affected by the new legalization to stay aware of any announcements the Canadian government makes in this regard.
Contact Akrami & AssociatesIf you have a marijuana possession charge and would like to pursue a Record Suspension, we can help you with this process. It is very important to find out whether you qualify for a Record Suspension and if you have met the minimum time period needed to apply for a Record Suspension. Applying for a Record Suspension can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with how Immigration applications work. Moreover, any Immigration application can become overwhelming if done alone; therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to apply. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients receive Record Suspensions and are now free of their criminal past. If you believe that you might be eligible, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise. With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!
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