Lawyers consider legal action if Liberal government doesn't overturn past convictions for marijuana crimes

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      Lawyers in Toronto are considering taking legal action to push the federal government to grant amnesty for past marijuana crimes.

      "There are lawyers who are coming together to consider that as an option if the government is slow," said Anthony Morgan, a lawyer with Falconers LLP, quoted in a Canadian Press story published in the Globe and Mail.

      The Georgia Straight first asked Justin Trudeau about overturning past convictions for crimes related to cannabis when he was still just a candidate for prime minister. At a Vancouver campaign stop in August 2015, Trudeau said it would be something a Liberal government would discuss as part of what was then an election pledge to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis.

      “That’s something that we’ll be looking into as we move forward,” Trudeau said. “There has been many situations over history when laws come in that overturn previous convictions and there will be a process for that that we will set up in a responsible way.”

      The Canadian Press published yesterday (February 1) story provides an update on where that conversation stands within the Liberal government that took power in November 2015.

      “Last month, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the government was looking at the legal implications of amnesty, but refused to provide a time frame,” it reads.

      The article also quotes Bill Blair, the federal government’s lead on marijuana legalization, suggesting the Liberals will consider pardons but not until after recreational cannabis officially becomes legal, in July 2018.

      "Once we have put in a more comprehensive system of regulatory control for the production and distribution of cannabis, that's an issue the government will then, at that point in time, be able to turn its mind to," he said.