The Globe and Mail reports in its Wednesday, March 20, edition that Ottawa estimates about 10,000 Canadians will apply to get free pardons for their cannabis-possession convictions if the government passes a bill that gives redress to those left with criminal records from the decades of prohibition of the drug. The Globe's Mike Hager writes that
Scott Bardsley, spokesman for the Public Safety Minister, said his department has extrapolated statistics from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, which handles drug crime cases, and found upward of 250,000 convictions over the years for people caught having less than 30 grams of cannabis. However, people in only about 4 per cent of those cases are expected to apply for the expedited pardons proposed under Bill C-93, which was tabled in the House of Commons two weeks ago.
Mr. Bardsley said most are not expected to apply for reasons that include having died or having already received a pardon.
Mr. Bardsley said the department "made several assumptions" to peg the number of possible pardons at 10,000, which is considerably smaller than the 70,000 to 80,000 people Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair said earlier this month Canada could expect to apply.
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