The Canadian government should consider pardoning some people convicted for illegal possession of marijuana, says a new report from a hugely influential think tank.
The C.D. Howe Institute report Joint Venture: A Blueprint for Federal and Provincial Marijuana Policy looks at the need for governments to cooperate over cannabis.
Author Anindya Sen says anyone convicted of marijuana possession, but not convicted or charged with any other criminal offence, should be pardoned.
“Anecdotal evidence suggests that some drug dealers are also otherwise law-abiding citizens,” writes Sen.
While acknowledging that organized crime is involved in illegal pot distribution, Sen says for people with no such association, a pardon would make a huge difference.
“Such individuals would benefit in terms of not experiencing possible travel restrictions and being able to access more labour market opportunities, resulting in economic benefits to
governments as well.”
Sen also makes several other recommendations:
- the federal government should retain control over production and supply and set limits for consumption of weed.
- the federal government should punish illegal trafficking and production, while provinces penalize the purchase and sale of pot to young people.
- provinces should be free to design their own distribution systems to protect public health, limit illegal sales and stop uncompetitive concentration of suppliers.
- the federal government should levy sales tax of marijuana on suppliers and the provincial government should levy sales tax on retailers.
The recommendations come on the same day that it was announced that a bill to legalize marijuana in Canada will be introduced to parliament.