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Opinion

Cannabis legalization in Canada: the case for pardons and preferential licensing

By Akwasi Owusu-Bempah      

This law, and many that followed, had a considerable negative impact on the very groups that their proponents so often purported to help. At a time when Canada once again stands at the forefront of international drug law, we should set an example to the world by providing redress for the harms we now know we have inflicted.

The federal government also recently announced a plan to spur a 'diverse and competitive' industry by establishing different tiers of licences required for participation in the legal market, writes Akwasi Owusu-Bempah. The Hill Times file photograph

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposed date for legalizing the recreational use of cannabis is fast approaching and the Senate is debating Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act. Given the social harms associated with drug prohibition, legalization cannot come soon enough. We also need to go further and right past wrongs by pardoning those convicted of minor cannabis offences and by giving preference to those most targeted by Canada’s war on drugs when we issue cultivation and distribution licences.

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