As the legalization of marijuana approaches, there’s a movement afoot to wipe clean the criminal records of hundreds of thousands of Canadians with minor cannabis convictions.
“In the essence of fairness, we think that with it not being an illegal crime anymore, we think they should be pardoned for that,” David Duarte told Global News.
Duarte is with Doja, a Kelowna-based legal marijuana growing company that has partnered with not-for-profit organization Cannabis Amnesty to get the ‘Pardon Campaign’ going.
“We are talking about non-violent, minor cannabis-related convictions, small possession charges,” Duarte said.
While the offences are minor, their impact on people’s lives, said Duarte, are major.
“With it on their record, they may find it hard to get any meaningful employment, rent, volunteering,” Duarte said. “So with this off the record, they can actually kind of move forward and really benefit their life.”
According to ‘Pardon Campaign’ organizers, there are some half a million Canadians with criminal records for minor pot offences.
“When we started this campaign, that number kind of blew all of us away,” Duarte said. “That’s why we really want to do something, because every day that’s your parents, your friends, your family.”
Duarte said the campaign’s goal is to raise awareness about the issue, collect signatures and encourage the government to issue the pardons, something he said has been done in other jurisdictions.
“It’s happened in other place sin the world. Recently in California and Seattle, they passed this initiative,” Duarte said.
The ‘Pardon Campaign’ truck was in Vancouver the last two weeks. This weekend, it will roll into Kelowna.
It will be providing information and collecting petition signatures on saturday at Kerry park from 12 p.m., until 6 p.m., and on Sunday on Bernard Avenue near Richter Street from 12 p.m. Until 6 p.m.
If you would like to sign the petition supporting the ‘Pardon Campaign’ but can’t come out to the events, you can do so online by clicking here.
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