Government now offering free pardons for pot possession

MONTREAL – The federal government has announced individuals convicted of cannabis possession can now apply for free, expedited pardons.

As of Aug. 1, people convicted of simple possession can now apply to the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) for a pardon through a streamlined, simplified process.

“Providing free, immediate access to pardons will allow those with criminal records for simple possession of cannabis to move forward with their lives, making it easier to get a job, an education, rent an apartment or volunteer in their community,” stated Attorney General David Lametti.

“This is particularly significant for marginalized communities in Canada, who have been disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous cannabis laws.”

Under the new legislation, the $631 fee and waiting periods associated with other pardon applications are eliminated.

Applicants are eligible even if they have outstanding fines or surcharges associated with their conviction, as long as they have completed the rest of their sentence.

To assist applicants, PBC has put in place an online guide and forms (with step-by-step instructions), as well as a toll-free information line and email address.

For assistance or more information visit, call 1-800-874-2652 or email