NDP in Canada urges Liberals to decriminalize marijuana immediately

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on June 14, 2016.

The National Development Party (NDP) has urged the Liberal government to decriminalize marijuana before they legalize it. The NDP on Monday introduced an opposition day motion, calling on the House of Commons to recognize there is a contradiction in giving people criminal records for something the government has said should not be a crime.

The motion also calls on the government to decriminalize simple possession of marijuana for personal use immediately, since it remains a criminal offence across the country.

NDP Justice Critic Murray Rankin says it is not fair to arrest people and give them criminal records for possessing marijuana if the practice will soon be legal."Canadians thought they were voting for a Liberal government that would act quickly to stop arresting people and giving them criminal records for marijuana possession," said Murray Rankin. "But instead we see a government that has failed to move on this issue and worse, has encouraged law enforcement to continue cracking down, further wasting resources and bringing greater confusion to the legal system."

This year, as many as 60,000 Canadians will be arrested for simple possession of marijuana and 22,000 will end up with criminal records, according to the NDP. The majority of the convictions for marijuana possession involve young Canadians, who should not be burdened with criminal records for the rest of their lives especially when the government plans to legalize marijuana at some point in the future, said the NDP.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise to legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana in Canada, and his government plans to get started next spring. Despite Prime Minister’s clear campaign promise to immediately fix marijuana laws in the country, the government has done nothing for 8 months except continue the senseless practice of handing out criminal records for personal use, the NDP observed.

Meanwhile, the Liberals say they plan to introduce legislation in April 2017 to remove marijuana consumption and incidental possession from the Criminal Code, and create laws to better punish those who provide marijuana to minors.



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