Can I Get an Old Drug Record Expunged, Now That Marijuana Is Legal?

March 30th, 2021
Can I Get an Old Drug Record Expunged, Now That Marijuana Is Legal?

Possession of small amounts of Cannabis was legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018. Unfortunately, there are many who still have criminal records from possession charges prior to legalization. The Federal Government has taken some steps to alleviate pressures placed on both individuals and the legal system by waiving many of the fees and waiting periods normally associated with seeking a pardon or criminal record suspension for certain possession charges.

However, for many a pardon does not quite go far enough, as the fact that a felony was committed, and a pardon was received is still on record. This can lead to issues when seeking employment, trying to enter a foreign country, or even applying for an apartment. Because of this many are wondering if it is possible to get an old Marijuana Possession Record expunged rather than just suspended.

The difference between a Pardon and an Expungement is that a record that has been Expunged is destroyed in Federal Databases and can no longer be legally referenced for any reason as it no longer officially exists.

Unfortunately, the Federal Government has not been amenable to the idea of expunging Cannabis records stating that Expungement should be an extraordinary measure only, reserved for charges that should never have been considered criminal in the first place and in many cases violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The classic example of an Expungement in Canada would be those who were criminally convicted of Homosexuality. All these records have been expunged and no longer legally exist.

There is still an ongoing push for a general amnesty towards Marijuana Possession Charges being performed by groups such as Cannabis Amnesty, who feel that the Federal Pardons do not go far enough but unfortunately the current pardon system is the only recourse for the moment.

Gagan Nahal is a criminal defence lawyer based in Surrey, British Columbia, although he has represented clients across Canada. He works vigorously and tirelessly defending his clients.

If you have any questions about this article or you would like to talk to Mr. Nahal, please call him directly at (604) 527-4769.