Edmonton

Seeking signatures of support, 'pot pardon truck' rolls into Edmonton

The "pot pardon truck" looks like a food truck, but it isn't selling anything. Instead, it's rolling across Canada with the goal of gathering support for the complete expungement of criminal records for those convicted of cannabis possession.

Estimated 400,000 Canadians have criminal records for simple cannabis possession

The truck parked just off Whyte Avenue Saturday. The group collected signatures for a petition they hope to bring to the federal government. It's calling for simple possession records to be expunged rather than just pardoned. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

A green truck on a cross-country mission made a stop on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton this weekend.

The "pot pardon truck" looks like a food truck but it isn't selling anything.

Instead, it's rolling across Canada with the goal of gathering support for the complete expungement of criminal records for those convicted of cannabis possession.

Cannabis was legalized in October. Since then, the federal government announced plans to pardon Canadians convicted of simple possession before legalization.

The normal fee of $631 for a pardon will be waived under the proposed bill. The five-10 year waiting period to apply for a pardon will also be waived.

The free pardons are expected by summer, if the bill passes. An estimated 400,000 Canadians have criminal records for simple possession.

But some say the pardons aren't quite enough.

Removing records

B.C.-based cannabis company DOJA has partnered with Cannabis Amnesty to create the pot pardon truck. It's travelling around Canada gathering signatures for a petition which will be delivered to the federal government by April 20.

David Duarte with DOJA says they are focused on the complete expungement of simple possession charges under 30 grams. A pardon forgives a past offence, but an expungement removes the record of that offence entirely.

Fast, free pardons are expected this summer, one group says that's not good enough. 0:56

"Trafficking and stuff, like that is a whole different conversation," Duarte said Saturday.

"We're out here fighting for those that might have just made a simple mistake back then. Under 30 grams is legally what you're allowed to carry now. So, we're fighting for that."

A pardon is akin to burying the record, Duarte said. The issue with this is that it can resurface, he added.

"It can be leaked even, or if a citizen is considered [to be] no longer [in] good conduct, it can be brought back up," he said. "An expungement deletes it off of your record. It completely wipes the slate clean. It's forgiving ever charging the individual."

The group is trying to collect 10,000 signatures; so far they have more than 6,000. The petition can also be signed online.

About the Author

Tricia Kindleman

Reporter/Producer

Tricia Kindleman has spent her life in Alberta. She grew up in Edmonton and attended Mount Royal College, now university, in Calgary. She has worked in newsrooms in Edmonton and Grande Prairie.

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