Canada has officially unveiled a new pardon system for those who have been charged with simple marijuana offenses.
The new system – which consists of online applications – was unveiled on Thursday by Justice Minister David Lametti, reports the CBC. The system is designed to “remove barriers to employment, housing, travel and volunteering opportunities for people who were convicted of simple possession before recreational cannabis use was made legal. ” Lametti said the announcement will help minorities who have been “disproportionately affected by cannabis laws.”
Lametti said Canadians can now apply for pardons through the Parole Board of Canada’s website. An online application is available and an email and toll-free number will help answer users’ questions. The new system eliminates the $631 fee and the lengthy wait times, the minister said.
A news release from the federal government said applicants are eligible even if they have outstanding fines or surcharges from their conviction, so long as they have completed the rest of their sentence. Non-Canadian citizens and residents are also eligible as long as the conviction was in Canada. The Parole Board of Canada is also working with police, courts, community groups and criminal justice professionals to generate awareness.